According to the reports in The Scottish Sun from September, Celtic were keeping track of Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff for a possible move in January who was then in the final year of his contract. It was believed that he could have been available on a cut-price deal of £300,000.
However, one can say that the Hoops’ pursuit for the young midfielder is over now as Longstaff has gone on to sign a new four-year contract with the Magpies as confirmed by the official Newcastle United website.
The midfielder had played in the Scottish Premiership before as he was on loan with Kilmarnock earlier. The 21-year-old though is still awaiting his debut in the Premier League. So far this season, he has played for Benitez in the Carabao Cup ties. Rafel Benitez seems to rate the young midfielder highly even though he hasn’t played regularly this season. It is believed (The Chronicle) that it was the Spanish manager who insisted that the club should keep hold of the talented midfielder.
Longstaff is traditionally a central midfielder, but he can play in a slightly advanced role as well as a no. 10. What makes him stand out is his ability to pick out a killer pass as he often seems to have that extra bit of time on the pitch.
He looks unfazed under pressure and uses his tall frame well to protect the ball. To compare his playing style, we would say he is in the same mould as former Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick.
As for Celtic, the emergence of Ryan Christie in the last two months has probably solved a lot of their midfield issues. They missed out ( The Scottish Sun) on signing John McGinn, and that probably turned out as a blessing in disguise for someone like Christie who has firmly established himself as a regular in the starting lineup after the injuries to Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham.
However, given that Longstaff could have been available on a price of £300,000, he would have been a shrewd signing for the club. And as he is just 21, the midfielder could have had a big future at Park Head. Now he would hope that he can soon break into the Toon starting lineup, but at the moment, it seems like the might have to continue playing a peripheral role in the squad.
Celtic have coped up well with injuries to their regular midfielders, and that goes to show the depth they have in the squad in midfield. However, a player like Longstaff would have been a handy addition in the long run for the club given his talent and abilities.