There are some very interesting developments regarding Matty Longstaff’s contract situation and proposed move away from Tyneside, with The Daily Mail’s Craig Hope revealing how the club now ‘expect’ him to end up at Watford.
As every man and his dog knows our pint sized, flame haired midfield talent is out of contract this summer, and while Lee Charnley and Mike Ashley have dragged their heels (Well I never) over a new contract other clubs are circling, which is no surprise to anyone.
What is a slight surprise is Longstaff junior’s most likely destination. News broke a few days ago that Serie A side Udinese had offered him £30,000 a week to reject a new contract and move to Italy. A huge increase on his reported current £850 a week deal, and the reports seem accurate, as Keith Downie even reported it on Sky Sports News. Then however, came stories about Udinese’s wage bill, and how if they did complete the signing, Longstaff would in fact become one of their highest earners, a risky and unlikely deal for a 20 year old who has only made 7 first team starts and hasn’t even represented his country at U21 level yet.
Then came rumours amongst local press that Watford could somehow be involved, as the Pozzo family own both clubs. There appears to be validity in those rumours, with Craig Hope revealing the following in a new piece for The Mail late last night:
Newcastle United suspect Matty Longstaff will end up at Premier League rivals Watford if he joins Udinese on a free transfer, sources close to the club have told Sportsmail.
Watford and Serie A outfit Udinese are both owned by the Pozzo family and have a history of trading players.
Longstaff, 20, is out of contract at Newcastle this month and would cost Udinese around £450,000 in compensation, whereas a move to another Premier League club would see the fee settled by tribunal.
Sportsmail has been told that figure would run close to £3million given Longstaff is an England Under-20 international and has enjoyed an impressive debut season at St James’ Park, scoring three times from 12 appearances.
It’s also worth noting that Hope’s piece states that Matty is eager to stay at Newcastle, but has only received a ‘verbal offer’ of £20,000 thus far – despite wanting more like £25,000 to sign at St James’ Park.
The really interesting part is the point he makes about the compensation, how Udinese would only have to pay around £450,000 as opposed to having a Premier League tribunal decide the price, which the article claims could be up to £3m.
So Watford’s plan is basically to pay for Longstaff to sign for Udinese, get experience playing a high level of football, then bring him back to the Premier League and pay around £2.5m less in compensation for him?
Genius in its simplicity, but as Hope points out it could had further consequences down the line when it comes to duel ownership of clubs. It seems to only be leading down a dark and murky path.