Former Newcastle United midfielder Rob Lee has exclusively told Football FanCast that he is “very cynical” of speculation suggesting Sean Longstaff may look for a move away from St. James’ Park.
It has been reported by the Daily Mail that Longstaff has signed a 12-month deal with super-agent Pini Zahavi after failing to agree on a new contract with the Magpies, after talks stalled in 2019 following the midfielder’s serious knee injury.
Zahavi is dubbed ‘Mr Fix It’ for his ability to broker deals for unsettled players, and is now expected to work his magic on Longstaff’s situation with Tottenham Hotspur suggested as a potential destination, two years after the 23-year-old first broke into the first-team of his hometown side.
The Toon hierarchy are said to have baulked at the wage Longstaff’s former representatives Beswicks Sports were demanding following heavy links with a potential move to Manchester United, while feeling the speculation surrounding his future had negatively impacted the development of their academy graduate.
Longstaff was expected to have reached a higher level than Magpies supporters are currently seeing under Steve Bruce, who has called on the once £50million-valued midfielder to start just five of eight Premier League outings thus far this season.
Lee, who made 267 top-flight appearances for Newcastle, believes there is still the potential for Longstaff to become a top-class player, but is hesitant over the speculation regarding his future.
“I’m very cynical when it comes to these sorts of things. I’m sure Longstaff, in my opinion, is potentially a top-class player. He’s come in and done very, very well,” Lee told FFC.
“Don’t listen to people saying [they can] get you here. Get your head down and play football, you’re playing for the club you love. You’re young. All those things will come to you.
“I think players have to realise, actually, it’s not the agent that gets them the move, it’s the player that gets the move. If he plays badly, I don’t care who your agent is, if he plays terrible and he starts playing badly, then no one’s getting him a move.
“So, it’s up to him who is agent is, it’s up to him who he wants to go with but, for me, at the moment, for Sean Longstaff, he should stay, play for Newcastle. And if he wants to move later in his career when he’s done really, really well, then [fine].
“It just seems to me that young players break into a team, and all of a sudden somebody wants to move on and cash-in. I don’t mean the clubs, and I don’t mean the player, I mean agents. So, I don’t know [if he will leave], I’m very sceptical of these sorts of things.”
The Daily Mail note that Longstaff would like to stay at St. James’ Park and that Newcastle also wishes to retain his services, with negotiations over a new deal expected to kick on nearer the New Year.
Longstaff’s current deal sees the 23-year-old earn £25,000-per-week as one of the lowest earners in the Toon first-team, and was thought to have been in talks over an £80k-p/w deal following links with a move to Manchester United.