Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has sent a clear message to young midfielder Sean Longstaff over a potential transfer to Manchester United.
The message itself, to forget about it, it quite clear. Bruce doesn’t want to lose any of his top players and wants the dressing room to group together. They need to come out of this rough patch, but hopefully not today against the Red Devils.
Unfortunately for Bruce, the 21-year-old seems to be a priority target for United, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hoping to board sanctions over £40m for his signature in the summer, according to the Daily Mirror.
Longstaff makes even more sense for United with Solskjaer focused on recruiting young British talent, having also signed Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
United missed out on signing a midfielder in the summer despite losing Ander Herrera to Paris Saint-Germain on a Bosman. Now we’re stuck with the likes of Fred and Nemanja Matic who are having very little impact at Old Trafford.
Still, Bruce now suggests there wasn’t as much to the transfer speculation as it seemed, and has told his player to ignore the gossip columns.
“I think Sean now needs to concentrate on his own performances, rather than worrying about speculation and tittle-tattle,” Bruce is quoted by the Mirror.
“I don’t think there was any real legs in the Manchester United story.
“Whether there was interest, I’ve never really asked the question.
“Distracted? You are a young lad, so you are going to be.
“He’s got to learn to out that aside and just get on with the job in hand, which is playing for us.
“I do believe he signed a new contract last Christmas. There is n o problem there contract-wise.
“The thing for him now is to forget about contracts, forget his knee injury, forget Man Utd — it’s all about getting back to playing like we know he is capable.”
I watched bits of Newcastle’s 5-0 thrashing against Leicester City and ‘how bad does Sean Longstaff look’ came out of my mouth at one stage, and I’ve read from message boards online that his performances have been below par.
Too much pressure on the young lad? Maybe but if he can’t deal with that he’ll never make it as a MUFC player.
We’ll get to see him in action against Solskjaer’s men today.