Manchester United are set to step up their efforts to snatch Newcastle product Sean Longstaff, as the Red Devils see the Magpies as being vulnerable following Rafa Benitez’s exit, according to the Metro.
The Spaniard will officially leave his duties on Tyneside on Sunday, June 30, but it is understood the Old Trafford outfit will look to use the former Liverpool boss’ departure as a boost to their hopes, as he had been pushing Toon chiefs to retain the defensive midfielder after handing the North Shields-born talent his Premier League debut.
Longstaff had likewise looked to Benitez’s position in the St James’ Park dugout as reason to continue his career with his boyhood side, as he was keen to continue his development by working under the 59-year-old. However, the 21-year-old is now questioning whether his future still lies in the North-East.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s interest in Longstaff is nothing new, with the Norwegian regularly touted to be chasing the 5 ft 9 star ever since the recent Premier League term drew to a close. Other targets had been considered, as well, but the Man Utd head coach does not feel the likes of Youri Tielemans can fill the void set to be left by Ander Herrera in a similar fashion.
Newcastle, meanwhile, are claimed to have placed a £30million asking price on Longstaff in a bid to ward off the interest emerging from Old Trafford, but the Red Devils are said to be willing to meet the figure, having previously valued the midfielder at £25million.
A decision on whether we sell or not will now come down to Mike Ashley and Solskjaer. However, the Chronicle understand no approach has been made, and Longstaff is due to return to Darsley Park for pre-season training on July 4, where he will undergo an assessment on his knee.
The lack of an approach is not unexpected, in reality, as previous reports on United valuing Longstaff at £25million included notes to a preference of wrapping up deals for a centre-back and a wing-back first.
Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka should alleviate one of those priorities, with the England U21 star due to join Solskjaer’s Champions League-chasing Red Devils in a £45million plus £5m in add-ons transfer after completing his medical during the week.
The Manchester Evening News also claim there is still some indecisions between the walls of Old Trafford over whether they will target a new centre-half this summer, as Solskjaer does not feel it is a priority position as much as his predecessor Jose Mourinho.