Newcastle United must make sure that Matty Longstaff signs a new contract this summer before they allow him to leave on loan.
The youngster has had a tough season at St James’ Park, struggling to break into the first-team despite an underwhelming midfield.
Longstaff only managed five Premier League appearances all season, the same tally he managed in his debut campaign.
But while that season was known for a breakout performance against Manchester United, this year will be less memorable for the youngest Longstaff brother.
Ever since signing a new contract, Longstaff has struggled to get in the team.
Yet when he did play over Christmas he impressed. Longstaff was thrown in at the deep end against Manchester City on Boxing Day, and more than held his own against the eventual champions.
He retained his place against Liverpool days later, and impressed yet again despite two games in quick succession.
However, the 21-year-old hasn’t featured since the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal back in January. This was famously the game after Steve Bruce proclaimed that the gloves were off…
With limited minutes under his belt, it’s clear that Longstaff needs to be playing first-team football. That has to happen next season.
Can Newcastle risk sending Matty Longstaff out on loan without handing him a new contract?
That contract will expire next summer. That means he could be free to negotiate with non-English clubs as early as January.
We had the same problem in 2020, with Longstaff linked with a move to Italy.
Fortunately that didn’t happen, and Longstaff stayed with the Magpies. However, we can’t afford to run the same risk this time round.
According to the Chronicle, the centre-midfielder is a loan target for Derby County.
But before Longstaff is allowed to leave on loan, he must be tied down to a new long-term contract. It would be totally negligent of the club if he left without an extension.
If Bruce doesn’t plan to use Longstaff next season, then a loan is the best option. He needs first-team experience.
A spell at a club like Derby could allow him to prove that he can play a role at Newcastle.
But if he doesn’t sign a new contract, then an impressive stint at Derby could increase the chance of him leaving for free next summer. That would be disastrous, and could come back to haunt us.
However, if you’re Longstaff, would you want to sign a new deal right now? As it stands, he clearly isn’t in the manager’s plans.
If Longstaff is to stay, he must be given assurances about his future at the club.
But if Longstaff doesn’t want to stay, then there’s no point in loaning him. We would be better off selling him and increasing this summer’s transfer kitty.
However, that has to be a last resort. Longstaff is a talented player with a lot of potential. As a local lad, it would be great to see him achieve that potential at St James’ Park.
Tie him down to a new deal. Send him out on loan. Return in 2022 ready to play a part in the first-team. That’s how the next 12 months must play out for Matty Longstaff.