This is why time is running out for Newcastle United as Matty Longstaff considers his future
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Steve Bruce, the club’s head coach, spoke of his “concern” at the situation early this year given how highly he rates Longstaff, a fiercely-competitive and athletic midfielder who has scored three goals so far this season.
Longstaff – who followed his elder brother Sean into the first-team set-up – has been holding on and holding on for news on the proposed £300million takeover, which has been with the Premier League since April.
The buyers remain confident that the deal will be approved, and the hope is that they will improve the terms on offer to Longstaff, said to earn around £850 a week, if they take charge.
Udinese – run by the Pozzo family who also own Watford – have offered the 20-year-old a lucrative long-term deal, and he can’t put off a decision much longer.
“It’s not a move for your career – it’s a move for money,” said former United manager Sam Allardyce. “The player should think long and hard about his football career first.”
Longstaff isn’t motivated by money, but the deal must be right for him. This should have been an easy contract renewal given Longstaff’s keenness to stay at the club, but we are where we are, and time is fast running out.
Longstaff, preparing for the proposed Premier League restart later this month with his United team-mates, hasn’t yet signed a short-term extension to allow him to play in all of the club’s remaining Premier League games.
Indeed, Longstaff may not feature at all before June 30, when his deal runs out.
If the takeover, which is being financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, is approved soon, the situation could be quickly resolved. It would be a quick win for the new owners.
But, as it stands, the club, seemingly in limbo as it waits for a Premier League decision, is in danger of losing one of its most talented young players for just £400,000 compensation.