Steve Bruce reacts to Sean Longstaff and transfer 'tittle-tattle' at Newcastle United amid Rafa Benitez interest in midfielder

Steve Bruce has addressed speculation linking Rafa Benitez with a move for Sean Longstaff.

Friday, 13th August 2021, 4:45 pm
Sean Longstaff.

Benitez handed Longstaff his debut during his time at Newcastle United.

And Everton’s new manager has been linked with a summer bid for the midfielder, who has one year left on his contract at St James’s Park.

A new deal has been on the agenda for Longstaff since he made his Premier League debut in early 2019.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

However, the 23-year-old – who was a target for Manchester United two years ago – remains on the same contract he signed before he established himself as a first-team player at Newcastle.

Longstaff – who ended last season in Bruce’s starting XI – has played a major role in the club’s pre-season campaign, and could start Sunday’s season-opener against West Ham United, though Jonjo Shelvey has recovered from the calf injury which saw him sidelined last month.

Bruce, asked about Everton’s reported interest in Longstaff, labelled summer speculation as "tittle-tattle”.

“I think we’ve been linked with 86 players during the summer,” said United’s head coach. “So, you guys have a tendency to go and tittle-tattle about these things when there’s nothing else to write about.

"I haven’t heard anything on Sean Longstaff to Everton. I can’t really respond to that. As far as I’m concerned, nobody’s come to me and mentioned him. I’ve seen it out there on social media, but nothing has come to me.”

Bruce, set to sign midfielder Joe Willock from Arsenal, left the door open for one or more further departures when asked about further signings at his pre-match press conference.

Asked about incoming loans, Bruce said: “That’s an option. Before you bring anybody in, you’ve got to make room. There’s a lot of business to be done. We’ll see what becomes available. I’ll always ask the question – that’s my job.”

Meanwhile, Longstaff’s younger brother Matty – who made his first-team debut in Bruce’s first season at the club – could be loaned out this season.

The 21-year-old, also in the final year of his deal at St James’s Park, found his opportunities limited last season.

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Newcastle United coverage 365 days a year.

This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription; sign up here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor