It is well documented that there appears to be an alarming lack of real quality talent emerging in Newcastle United’s academy.
Paul Dummett remains the most recent Magpies youngster to rise through the ranks and establish himself in the first team. And there does not appear to be many players in Newcastle’s current squad capable of following in his footsteps with the Chronicle claiming that the club have told many of their young hopefuls that they will be released in the summer.
Though it seems that Sean Longstaff is an exception – which could make Rangers’ hopes of luring him to Ibrox this summer a little harder.
It is understood that the 20-year-old midfielder is one of the few Magpies’ talents that is seen as having the potential to challenge for a future first-team place, alongside Dan Barlaser and Freddie Woodman.
And Longstaff has enhanced his reputation with an impressive loan spell at Blackpool in League One, scoring his eighth goal of the campaign in the 5-0 thrashing of Blackpool on Saturday.
So the chances of Newcastle selling Longstaff to Rangers this summer seem slim, despite the fact he has just one year left on his contract.
Rangers have made a habit of signing promising youngsters on the cheap from Premier League sides, with Jordan Rossiter, Joe Dodoo and Emerson Hyndman all moving to Ibrox since the summer of 2016 and Longstaff would probably be within their price-range.
But with Benitez keen to improve Newcastle’s academy in order to bring through some young players, what reason would he have to let Longstaff leave?