According to The Mirror, Manchester United are looking to make Sean Longstaff their second signing of the summer after Daniel James and are confident of bringing the Newcastle midfielder in.
Since breaking onto the scene late last year, Longstaff has enjoyed a meteoric rise at St James’ Park, so much so that some of the biggest sides in England have kept their eyes on his development.
The Mirror report that United are ‘confident’ of signing Longstaff in a £25m deal and that the uncertainty surrounding the Magpies over their takeover and managerial situation are not likely to affect their pursuit of the midfielder.
When Michael Carrick joined United from rivals Tottenham back in the summer of 2016, it was lauded as a real coup for the Red Devils. The England international was slightly different to his more illustrious midfield contemporaries like Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard and offered more of a shield to his defence and great passing from deep.
Such was Carrick’s thinking for the game that former United boss Louis van Gaal labelled him as his ‘trainer coach during the game’. In his short time in English football’s top-flight, Longstaff has shown a willingness to be his side’s main port of call in midfield registering an impressive 32.6 passes per game and a pass completion rate of over 80%.
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Inevitably, comparisons have been drawn between Longstaff and Carrick but the former’s manager at Newcastle Rafael Benitez seemed to suggest that his midfielder could even eclipse the five-time Premier League winner. He said (via The Guardian): “I can see that (the Carrick likeness). But, at this stage, Sean has more mobility and stamina. Certainly he has the technique and he can use both feet as well.”
Whilst simply claiming United’s decline in the past couple of seasons has tied in with Carrick transitioning into the backroom staff might be a bit of a stretch, there can be no doubting that the Red Devils have missed an authoritative and calming presence in midfield. At 21, Longstaff has all the potential in the world to fill those Carrick-shaped shoes at Old Trafford.