Manchester United are preparing a bid for Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff, according to The Telegraph.
A virtual unknown six months ago, Longstaff took the Magpies by storm after making his debut in December, earning regular consideration in Rafa Benitez’s starting XI until an ankle injury curtailed his season in March.
Capable of playing anywhere across the middle of the park, the 21-year-old notched his first Premier League goal against Burnley in February and is highly coveted by Newcastle.
Despite only seeing 687 minutes of Premier League action, the Manchester United hierarchy are convinced of the 5 foot 11 English youngster’s potential to be a crucial component of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Old Trafford rebuild.
The arrival of a new centre-midfielder doesn’t automatically spell danger for Pogba considering the departure of Ander Herrera, but it is the specific make-up of Longstaff and the players being targeted by United that places the French World Cup winner in a precarious position.
Blessed with immense talent, Pogba’s attitude concerns are well documented and led to rifts with former boss Jose Mourinho, while his form fell off a cliff in the latter stages of the season leading to increased concerns about his commitment.
The years immediately following Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure saw United target high-profile players, paying huge fees and wages to sign the likes of Angel Di Maria, Pogba and Alexis Sanchez. Clearly, this strategy failed as United still find themselves unable to mount a genuine title challenge.
Learning from their mistakes, the United hierarchy are targeting a new breed of player with Solskjaer at the helm. Seemingly gone are the days when massive wages are handed out to one or two superstar players tasked with carrying the team.
Now, the Red Devils are looking for bright young players who have room for improvement and the attitude to match. This strategy perfectly complements links to Daniel James, Longstaff and even Harry Maguire.
Although Pogba may be a more talented player than Longstaff, the new era of Solskjaer’s United appears willing to sacrifice talent for attitude, leaving the eccentric midfielder in a world of trouble.