If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had it his way, Sean Longstaff would be a Manchester United player.
Longstaff was lined up by Solskjaer in 2019 as part of a much-vaunted ‘cultural reboot’ in which the manager solely targeted British players during his first summer in charge.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Dan James all joined, with Sean Longstaff the one that got away.
It was a lucky escape as far as United were concerned. The Telegraph reported how Newcastle demanded £50 million for the midfielder when Ed Woodward enquired after him, a fee which was seen as staggering, even at a time where the club were used to being quoted over the odds.
Sensibly a decision was made to walk away, and Longstaff will no doubt regret being denied the opportunity to move, and Newcastle will probably wish they had not been so greedy too.
On the move at last?
Sean Longstaff could finally be on the move, to the Championship. The Sun report Longstaff could be loaned out to Nottingham Forest.
The 24-year-old has not started a Premier League game since October, having failed to impress new Newcastle boss Eddie Howe.
So it seems Longstaff could end up partnering United talent James Garner after all in midfield, just not as Solskjaer envisioned it. The pair could become loan teammates at a resurgent Forest side which has climbed to seventh place in the table.
At the time, it did not make sense why Solskjaer was focusing on Longstaff, to the point where having seemingly identified the need for a central midfielder, nobody else was signed instead that summer.
United simply spent too much time chasing the wrong player, with the Longstaff saga taking up several weeks of the 2019 transfer window after the Wan-Bissaka deal.
Since then the midfielder has failed to develop as United envisioned, or as Newcastle hoped he would do. He will be out of contract as a free agent at the end of the season, and even on a free, Manchester United will no longer be interested.
Newcastle actually did us a favour with this one, and Longstaff being targeted in the first place highlights how midfield was an area Solskjaer struggled with, from the very start.
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