Manchester United are looking to sign Sean Longstaff for a fee of £25m while also giving Scott McTominay a more prominent role, according to The Evening Standard.
With question marks surrounding the Manchester United midfield, reinforcements are needed ahead of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first full season at Old Trafford.
Despite links to Youri Tielemans, Bruno Fernandes and Idrissa Gueye, The Evening Standard claim that United have settled on Longstaff as their primary target.
The Newcastle youngster has made just nine total Premier League appearances but emerged as a crucial performer for Rafa Benitez’s side until a knee injury curtailed his promising campaign.
In addition to Longstaff, United are hoping to buff up their midfield by giving an increased role to academy graduate McTominay who started nine times in the Premier League this season.
After being linked to some of the world’s top talents all over the pitch including Sporting Lisbon sensation Fernandes in centre-midfield, the pursuit of Longstaff and promotion of McTominay is understandably anti-climactic for United supporters.
However, this business goes against United’s recent transfer policy and gives Solskjaer the right balance for success.
In both British youngsters, United would have physical central midfielders with the attitude to succeed and the desire to produce maximum effort on the pitch. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side, with the likes of Gini Wijnaldum, Andy Robertson and James Milner all being brought in for relatively low fees, have already shown the blueprint for success with incomplete players who have the right mindset and physical make-up.
Longstaff has been praised for his mobility and stamina whereas McTominay’s size has helped him become a dominant aerial force, while both players have had to fight through their club’s youth systems for first-team opportunities.
When coupled with the effervescent attacking zeal of Paul Pogba, United’s midfield would have the right combination of skill and steel to help the attack function while safeguarding the defence.
Additionally, the financially prudent establishment of their first choice midfield would allow for huge money to be spent on other problematic areas such as centre-back and right-wing, just as Liverpool have done.
The Reds brought in Milner for free, Wijnaldum for £25m (hardly a huge fee in modern football) and Robertson for an initial £8m, allowing Klopp to invest heavily in key areas like centre back and goalkeeper.
United’s recent transfer policy has seen them chase the biggest names and offer mammoth wages, regardless of how the player will actually fit into the team, but Longstaff and McTominay offer a more pragmatic approach that can realistically lead to greater success, something United’s greatest rivals are already well on their way to doing.