Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has sent a clear message to young midfielder Sean Longstaff over a potential transfer to Manchester United.
And that message is – forget about it, despite the 21-year-old seeming to be a priority target for the Red Devils during the summer in a move worth as much as £40million, according to the Daily Mirror.
Longstaff fit the bill for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he focused on recruiting young British talent, having also signed Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
There could well have been room for Longstaff or a similar midfielder as well after the exit of Ander Herrera, and with players like Nemanja Matic and Fred not making much of an impact at Old Trafford.
Still, Magpies boss Bruce has now suggested there wasn’t as much to the transfer speculation as it seemed, and has told his player to ignore the gossip.
“I think Sean now needs to concentrate on his own performances, rather than worrying about speculation and tittle-tattle,” Bruce is quoted by the Mirror.
“I don’t think there was any real legs in the Manchester United story.
“Whether there was interest, I’ve never really asked the question.
“Distracted? You are a young lad, so you are going to be.
“He’s got to learn to put that aside and just get on with the job in hand, which is playing for us.
“I do believe he signed a new contract last Christmas. There is no problem there contract-wise.
“The thing for him now is to forget about contracts, forget his knee injury, forget Man Utd – it’s all about getting back to playing like we know he is capable.”
It remains to be seen how Longstaff himself will respond to being told to forget about Man Utd, and have their interest in him played down by his manager.
One imagines the youngster could take it as a bit of a dig as he’ll surely feel he was targeted by MUFC due to merit and will no doubt hope a deal can be revived in the future.