I’m not angry or frustrated. I’m just disappointed. Like a mother who has no words for her child who just did a terrible thing. All I can do is look, sigh, and shake my head. I knew it was gonna happen, and I know you did, too. It’s not like anyone with any common sense said with confidence Matty Longstaff was going to have a new contract with a sizable pay bump come August, even if it’s what we all wanted.
Matty Longstaff is now free to weigh his options, with Newcastle United no longer laying claim to his talents. We can no longer profit off of the talented young midfielder, either in transfer sales or on the pitch production. And I get it, the club was dealing with a takeover — kind of still is — but other players were handed new contracts that were what they were looking for, Matty was left with peanuts. Or whatever peanuts is to a footballer who makes far more than I ever will.
It truly is an indictment of how Newcastle United has been run under Mike Ashley, as well as how Steve Bruce has handled his squad. When Rafa Benitez had faith in a player, that player was rewarded with a solid new contract. In case Lee Charnley has forgotten, that’s usually how football works. Player do good, player get money and long-term contract creating financial security for young player.
That is without even mentioning how underwhelming the club’s academy program has been under Mike Ashley. The only long-term starter to come from the academy and consistently have an impact has been Paul Dummett. Both Sean and Matty Longstaff were looking to lay claim to their starting positions, but it seems the brother dynamic will be shattered should Matty sign with another club, as it’s being reported he likely will.
Steve Bruce has not guaranteed Matty playing time, something Leeds and other clubs are seeking to do. The contract’s financials are also subpar to what Longstaff and agent were hoping to receive.
Udinese, Watford, and Leeds are all interested in bringing the midfielder into their ranks. You can read a good in depth take on it here (The Chronicle). Two of these options are not ideal for Newcastle United, seeing as Watford has been an improving squad, and Matty would make them a more formidable midfield, and Leeds has recently been promoted, giving Matty a club that can build around his talents and abilities.
The standoff is one that fans will likely remember for a long time, and if this does not end with Matty putting on one of our okay looking kits, then it will be remembered as a complete breakdown of contract negotiations.
Steve Bruce’s handling of Matty Longstaff’s situation can only be graded as a D-. The manager not only benched Matty when he would have played a crucial role, but it only served to give Matty more reason to believe that he was more easily replaceable at Newcastle United, and less willing to sign a contract that didn’t properly meet his demands. The tactic has been used by managers before, and it generally aggravates the situation rather than ameliorating it.
When Matty makes his decision, and it doesn’t end with a Newcastle United background, fans will have all the more reason to demand the Premier League take action and approve the sale of Newcastle United.
If that happens, maybe we can buy Matty back?