He’s been strongly linked to them since the beginning of the summer window, with many Red Devils fans raising an eyebrow at the prospect of his signature. However, Sean Longstaff could be what United need.
The midfielder broke into the Newcastle first team in November 2018 and has impressed in Rafa Benitez’s side since. Coming through the Magpies’ youth academy, he is highly regarded in the north after various mature displays last season – these have interested Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Various reports suggest United are keen on bringing Longstaff to Old Trafford, for a fee in the region of £25 million.
This signing has divided opinion, with fans claiming the signing lacks intent and ambition that can help rebuild a dysfunctional club to take them back to winning titles. Longstaff has also only played 9 games and is currently injured with a knee ligament injury.
But are England’s most successful side still in a position to to attract the world’s best players? This article will explain why Longstaff would be a shrewd acquisition for Manchester United rather than popular opinion criticising the signing:
One of the main areas of United’s team that needs strengthening is the defence, shown by their big money pursuit of Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Longstaff has been effective in shielding the the Newcastle defence this season with 1.9 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game. His positional sense in his half is impressive for a player of his age and he doesn’t shy away from a tackle, something the Old Trafford faithful have been complaining about with their current side.
Alongside his defensive qualities, the Newcastle academy graduate has displayed a fine range of passing in the nine games he has played. Dozens of times in the video, Longstaff is able to begin attacks from his own box as well as play in teammates in the final third.
3.3 long balls a game and 0.6 key passes per game last season highlight the technical ability the Englishman possesses, alongside the grit and determination United will want from a midfielder.
Furthermore, he is more than able to find the back of the net when given a chance to shoot. A number of his goals for Blackpool on loan were longshots from outside the box and would provide the Red Devils with a versatile midfielder in Longstaff, who is comfortable in all parts of the pitch.
At 21 years of age marshaling an average group of Newcastle players, Longstaff has calmness beyond his years. As shown by the video, he isn’t afraid to dribble with the ball in his own half (1.7 dribbles per game this season) and his awareness of the players around him is excellent.
Particularly in his performance against Manchester City where he was facing a high press, the midfielder remained unfazed, both winning the ball back without difficulty and beginning attacks from the back rather than clearing the ball into Row Z.
Yes Sean Longstaff has only played 9 games for Newcastle, but this may be a gamble worth taking. Solskjaer is clearly taking a different approach with younger players that have potential and sometimes taking a gamble could prove to pay off handsomely.
Based on the video and information above, do you think Sean Longstaff would be a good signing for Manchester United? Let us know on Twitter @TasteofFtbl