Newcastle United must make a ruthless call and sell Sean Longstaff this summer amid links with a move to fellow Premier League side Everton.
After breaking onto the scene at St James’ Park, it’s fair to say things haven’t quite panned out the way Longstaff or the club would have wanted them to.
Now, The Times claim that former Magpies boss Rafa Benitez is keen on a reunion with the midfielder this summer, as he looks to bring him to Goodison Park.
It was another difficult season at St James’ Park for Longstaff last term, with the midfielder making just 22 appearances in the Premier League, and enduring a really hard spell in the early months of the new year, either being named on the bench or missing out on the match-day squad completely.
And when you look at his stats, it’s difficult to see just where the Geordie ace really fits into this side under Bruce.
As per Whoscored, he averaged just 1.4 tackles and 0.9 interceptions per game in the Premier League last season, while his numbers going forward were equally unimpressive – he didn’t average over one shot, key pass or dribble per match, while his average rating of 6.36 was the third-worst of any Newcastle player who started more than ten games.
The £13.5m-rated ace just simply hasn’t kicked on as many would have hoped, and with news that the club are closing in on a deal for Arsenal’s Joe Willock, and that they have made a bid for another midfielder in Jens Cajuste, the writing appears to be on the wall for Longstaff at St James’ Park.
The fact that some Everton fans have gone on record to voice their anger and frustrations with seeing their club linked with a move for Longstaff says it all about how far his stock has fallen.
He’s managed just four goals and four assists in 69 games in all competitions for Newcastle’s senior side, while after averaging a match rating of 6.87 in his breakthrough 2018/2019 campaign, that has fallen to 6.37 and 6.36 in the following seasons.
If the Toffees do come in with a bid for the midfielder this summer, Bruce would be wise to cash in and simply wave goodbye to their academy product – the fact his contract expires next year is yet another reason for that to happen too.
It would certainly be a ruthless call from the manager given Longstaff has come through the academy system on Tyneside, but it’s one that the club should really be making.