Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff has said he was "distracted" by speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United in the summer transfer window.
The 21-year-old told NUFC TV that he found it difficult to avoid talk of interest from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Red Devils (h/t Jack Perry at Sky Sports):
"You can sometimes get distracted by the outside noise and, maybe for a little bit in the summer, I did. It's hard not to when you go anywhere and you see your face on the front of a newspaper or you turn the telly on and people are talking about you. It's not like they're talking about little things, they're talking about stuff that can change your life, really."
Manchester United failed to land Longstaff and were said to be "stunned" by Newcastle's valuation of £50 million, according to Rob Dawson at ESPN FC.
The midfielder said at the time it was "flattering" to hear of interest from the Red Devils, per the Mirror's Alex Richards.
Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol said the Newcastle native wanted to talk to Man United but would not push to leave St James' Park:
Meanwhile, the Magpies made it clear they did not want to let the talented youngster depart. Owner Mike Ashley told Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail that he was not willing to sell Longstaff.
"The message we want to put out is that he is not for sale," he said. "If you've got one like Sean—keep him."
Longstaff was enjoying a breakout season with Newcastle in 2018-19 before his campaign ended prematurely because of a knee injury suffered against West Ham United in March.
Scouted Football offered some analysis of the central midfielder:
Scouted Football @ScoutedFtbl
Longstaff is particularly adept at evading pressure when receiving the ball, but is also a sensible and quick distributor. With every game that goes by he has shown there is more to his game; pinpoint long passing, awareness, tackling and smart reading of the game. He's top. https://t.co/utBeQNb9IH
Manchester United look in need of midfield reinforcements in the middle after allowing Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera to leave, while Nemanja Matic and Fred have struggled for game time under Solskjaer.
Yet it remains to be seen whether they will return for Longstaff in the future. He has failed to replicate last season's form in the early weeks of the new campaign, according to sports reporter Lee Ryder:
Luke Edwards @LukeEdwardsTele
Few thoughts from #nufc game yesterday. Like the look of Willems and Joelinton is getting better and better but needs to get in the box more. Atsu playing well. Longstaff not same player as last season, Almiron can't keep missing chances. Low crowd big worry. Apathy has returned
Longstaff will be aiming to get back to his best after a long spell out injured and can now focus on his football with the transfer window closed. Newcastle have shown they are not willing to let him go without a fight and will hope he can help them to keep their place in the Premier League after a turbulent summer.