Newcastle already have ideal partner for transfer targets after Shearer’s ‘biggest compliment’

Sean Longstaff emerged as a key player for Newcastle United this term and Alan Shearer has given his verdict on the academy graduate

Newcastle United are expected to enter the transfer market for a central midfielder ahead of their return to the Champions League. Rumours are mounting ahead of the summer window opening with James Maddison and Dominik Szoboszlai the creative options most strongly linked.

Newcastle have a clear need for a playmaker capable of influencing proceedings in the final third, as well as extra bodies for the increased demands next season. The Magpies’ run-in highlighted the lack of depth in midfield, with academy graduates Elliot Anderson and Lewis Miley both stepping up in the final fixtures.

Regardless of who Eddie Howe is ultimately able to bring through the door, the prospective signing might already have the ideal midfield partner to hit the ground running at St James’ Park. Having looked close to an exit on a free transfer last summer, Sean Longstaff has revived his fortunes to the point his absence through injury in the latter stages of the campaign seemed to affect the balance of the side.

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Newcastle legend Alan Shearer has picked out the 25-year-old as one of several first-team stars to impress him this term. The BBC Sport pundit believes Longstaff has the ability to bring out the best in his fellow midfielders, which could be a vital consideration given the likelihood of increased competition for places in the new season.

Shearer told the Pod on the Tyne podcast: “Sean Longstaff, what a season. The biggest compliment I can pay him is Newcastle are not as good when he is not in the side, and other midfielders are not as good when he is not in the side. That is what he has done for Newcastle.”