Alan Shearer admits that the ongoing Matty Longstaff saga is ‘difficult to understand’ with speculation rising that the Newcastle United youngster could end up joining Premier League rivals Watford, speaking to The Sun.
It is not every day that a homegrown prospect rises through the ranks at St James’ Park and establishes himself as a first-team regular in black and white.
So the rapid rise of the Longstaff brothers, Matty and Sean, must have come as a huge relief to Newcastle fans concerned about the lack of promising youngsters emerging in one of the most underperforming academies in English football.
But, just ten months after he made his Premier League debut for the Magpies, 20-year-old Longstaff appears to have one foot out of the door.
The skilful midfielder has been offered a £30,000-a-week deal at Udinese, a huge increase on his current £850-a-week wage at St James’ Park (Mail).
And considering that Udinese and Watford are both owned by the Pozzo family, there is a genuine chance that Longstaff could be playing against Newcastle as soon as next season.
“There’s still a little bit of hope he will stay but it’s sounding increasingly unlikely now – and what a shame both for Longstaff and Newcastle United,” St James’ legend Shearer has bemoaned.
“I’m sure there is more behind it than we may know but it’s a big risk for a local boy to leave the area and his football club for a team in Italy that could be relegated.
“The Pozzo family own both Udinese and Watford, so I have seen that he could eventually end up there — but even so, it’s difficult to understand. Longstaff must have his individual reasons as to why he is choosing to leave his club.
“We’ve seen glimpses of it but to leave having left no legacy at all at your boyhood club would be a real shame — especially with exciting times potentially on the way.”
Of course, there is still a very real chance that Newcastle could soon be taken over by a Saudi billionaire, becoming one of the richest clubs in world football as a result.
Maybe Longstaff thinks leaving would be for the best, with a whole host of established stars tipped to join The Magpies as marquee summer signings.