As of midnight on July 31st, Matty Longstaff was no longer contracted to Newcastle United. We have ran this situation through our head many times since, attempting to decide whether it was the correct decision as we were met with conflicting thoughts.
Breaking Into The First Team
Unlike many youth players in the North East, Matty Longstaff broke into the Newcastle United starting team without ever pulling on the shirt of a different club. While the older Longstaff brother, Sean, gained experience at both Kilmarnock and Blackpool, Matty only ever played for Newcastle’s youth team.
The tenacious midfielder first appeared for the senior team against Leicester in the EFL Cup, entering the pitch in the 72nd minute as we eventually bowed out on penalties.
The arrival of Matty Longstaff to the Georide faithful however, truly arrived on his Premier League debut against Manchester United on October 6th. Thrown straight in to the starting lineup against one of the world’s most successful teams, he stole the show.
On the back of a crushing 5-0 defeat against Leicester which dragged us into the bottom three, we were desperate for a result. The team in red were also suffering a poor start as they had acquired just 9 points in their opening 7 games.
In a hard fought match with both teams lacking quality in the final third, the games deadlock entered the 72nd minute. In just one instance however, the match swung in Newcastle’s favour, as our season begun its slight resurrection.
A quick counter attack started by Allan Saint-Maximin saw the Frenchman run with pace at the vulnerable backline before spreading a ball out to Jetro Willems. With the ball at the Dutchman’s feet, he spotted an onrushing Matty Longstaff just outside the box. As the ball was laid off to the midfielder he rifled a shot into the bottom corner, past a helpless David De Gea.
As no doubt you would have dreamed of as a kid, Matty Longstaff then celebrated passionately in front of the Gallowgate causing the electric atmosphere in St James’ Park to overload.
In that moment, Matty announced himself not just to the city of Newcastle, but also to the Premier League.
With the midfielders contract running until 31st July 2020, he played the rest of the season in the first team contracted to his academy wages of £850 per week. Admittedly, this is a fantastic wage, however in comparison to other Premier League players (Shelvey; £80,000 p/w & Bentaleb; £80,000 p/w) this was a trivial wage.
While seeking an improved contract, it is heavily rumoured that other clubs became interested in his services. Italian club, Udinese were a club notably linked with Matty as it surfaced the club had offered £35,000 p/w wages for the Newcastle player.
Failing to agree a new contract with the club as the season progressed, the proposal of a takeover added further complications to the negotiating parties. On one hand Mike Ashley somehow extended his distance between himself and the club he owns, while any prospective buyer was powerless to the situation.
As the situation prolonged, it appeared Matty’s playing time was directly impacted as his minutes on the pitch deteriorated. It is of course unknown if they were directly linked, but with the newly implemented rule of 5 substitutions per game, it was surprising to see Matty feature so infrequently.
As the season concluded and the gut-wrenching news that the takeover had been withdrawn broke, we entered August 1st with no news regarding our local Geordie’s contract.
Currently, he is free to join a new club on a free transfer…
We put ourselves in the shoes of Matty Longstaff to try and understand why he could of chosen to stay at the club:
- Represent your boyhood football team in the Premier League
- Form a midfield partnership with your brother
- Play out the rest of your career in black and white to earn legendary NE status
- Be guaranteed playing time in a squad not blessed with midfield talents
Correct Choice To Head For The Exit?
On the other hand what factors were drawing him out of St James’ Park:
- Depart a club lacking any sense of ambition or hope
- Make a quick exit from a potential Championship club in the near future
- Acquire a more lucrative deal with a different team
- Move to a team which can aid your development much more efficiently
It is truly painful to write this, but I think he has made the right decision.
With the club appearing to lack a successful long term future, the attribute of being a local lad, and being offered the opportunity to play for the club he supported throughout his childhood can only go so far.
As the takeover was called off, the pendulum has swung completely against Newcastle United. The only reasons we can propose for Matty to remain at the club are linked to his boyhood connections to the team in black and white.
These would override many of the negatives for many people, however the world of professional football is often cut-throat and short. You can be destined for greatness one day, while forgotten the next.
From a selfish viewpoint it can be decided that for our young lad to stand the chance of a successful career he is best to make the move away…
NUFC Hotspot Newcastle United Blog. NUFC Hotspot Blog. NUFC Blog. Newcastle.
Subscribe for the very best NUFC Hotspot round-ups delivered straight to your inbox!