The last thing Newcastle United fans need this summer is salt rubbing into the gaping wound that has opened up at the heart of their club.
The Magpies are still no further forward with regards to their purported Middle Eastern takeover, and Rafa Benitez is still yet to agree to terms on a new deal on Tyneside that would keep him at the club beyond next Sunday.
Add to that a general lack of activity in the transfer market, underpinned with looming spectre of Mike Ashley’s purgatorial ownership carrying on indefinitely, and it feels like things are a hair’s breadth away from going belly up at St. James’ Park this summer.
Somewhere on the Toon Army’s list of concerns, perhaps lower than it would ordinarily be, is Manchester United’s reported interest in Sean Longstaff.
The 22-year-old midfielder became an overnight favourite in the north east last season, and according to the Mirror, the Reds are looking to snap up the boyhood Toon fan for around £25 million.
That would be a bit of a disaster for Newcastle.
Longstaff may have only played 12 times for the senior side last term, but he traced up an impressive Whoscored rating of 6.86, with his pass completion coming in at 80.9% and his average times dispossessed per match just 0.7.
That kind of natural efficiency shows a footballing acumen that cannot be taught, and the trajectory Longstaff is on is see enough to justify the desperation to keep hold of him.
And that’s why ESPN’s latest report on the matter will come as music to the ears of Newcastle fans.
According to the outlet, United are making little progress in their bid to snap up the Toon starlet due to Ed Woodward’s attempts to lowball any deal with small initial fees amped up by future incentivised bonuses.
That is never going to sit well with Mike Ashley, and for once, the controversial owner’s stubbornness could be an asset.