Transfer Opinion: Newcastle must move for potential Longstaff replacement

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Unfortunately, with each passing week on Tyneside, it appears that Matty Longstaff is edging closer towards the exit door. The 20-year-old midfielder only made his debut earlier in this campaign, with a memorable long-range winner against Manchester United, but with the Englishman yet to put pen to paper on a new deal, he is free to leave at the end of this season when his contract expires.

Although most, if not all, fans will be saddened by the departure of a local lad who graduated from the club’s academy, it appears Newcastle may be planning for a future without the 20-year-old. The Magpies have been linked with a move for Motherwell prospect David Turnbull, who has been lighting up the Scottish Premiership.

The 21-year-old initially broke through with the Steelmen during the 2017/18 campaign, appearing three times in cup competitions, which included a goal and an assist in the 3-2 Challenge Cup exit to Crusaders. He also made the bench for the Scottish FA Cup Final but did not appear as Motherwell lost 2-0 to Celtic, just as they had done in the League Cup final earlier that season.

Though the Scot had initially been peripheral, last term he exploded into the Motherwell side and made 25 Scottish Premiership appearances. Even more impressively, the midfielder was not just making up the numbers, Turnbull, registered nine Premiership goals making him the side’s top-scorer in the league last term. Additionally, the 21-year-old Scot recorded five assists as he became a vital asset to manager Stephen Robinson.

However, Turnbull has been unable to build upon the foundation he laid during the 2018/19 campaign this season, as it has been cut agonisingly short by a catastrophic knee injury. In July the midfielder required surgery and was forced to miss 35 matches for Motherwell.

Even more frustratingly, the 21-year-old will have watched his side succeed without him as they navigated their way to a third-place finish. Turnbull was only able to appear as a substitute for the final two matches before the season was curtailed prematurely.

Given their shared central midfield position and similar age, it appears that Newcastle might be bringing in Turnbull as a replacement for the departing Longstaff. When fit, the Scottish U21 international was spectacular, providing he has fully recovered from his knee operation and could pass a medical, which was a stumbling block for a move to Celtic, Turnbull would be an excellent young addition to Steve Bruce’s squad.

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