Newcastle United could sign a major upgrade on Sean Longstaff in Reading star John Swift.
What’s the story?
The Magpies had yet another fairly quiet transfer window in the summer, with the only notable arrival being Joe Willock on a permanent deal from fellow Premier League side Arsenal.
Now, Football League World have claimed that Steve Bruce’s side, along with the likes of Aston Villa and Sheffield United, among others, are all keeping a close eye on Swift’s situation with the Royals.
Should Newcastle sign Swift?
The report adds that with the midfielder entering the final 12 months of his contract, and having currently been unable to reach an agreement over a new deal, that has alerted clubs over his potential availability.
He’s better than Longstaff
The Reading ace has a track record of being someone who can offer a goal-scoring threat from the middle of the park, managing 58 goal contributions in 171 games for the club – in fact, his start to this season has been quite incredible, netting seven in seven in the Championship as well as chipping in with three assists too.
Speaking back in August after a 2-1 win over Preston, Royals manager, Veljko Paunovic, said: “Now he’s back, it is important we keep him healthy and motivated as he is now because that will help us a lot.
“He is super talented and he showed an urgency that he wanted to decide the game. The first couple of passes to Azeez and Joao were fantastic vision and execution of the final pass – something we’ve missed in the past. We missed those slick combinations through the middle when we progress forward so that’s something we have to keep up.”
In contrast, Longstaff has endured a bit of a nightmare since his breakthrough at St James’ Park, and offers nothing of the kind of goal-scoring ability that Swift possesses.
It was another difficult season at St James’ Park for Longstaff last term, with the midfielder making just 22 appearances in the Premier League, and enduring a really hard spell in the early months of the new year, either being named on the bench or missing out on the match-day squad completely.
And when you look at his stats, it’s difficult to see just where the Geordie ace really fits into this side under Bruce.
As per Whoscored, he averaged just 1.4 tackles and 0.9 interceptions per game in the Premier League last season, while his numbers going forward were equally unimpressive – he didn’t average over one shot, key pass or dribble per match, while his average rating of 6.36 was the third-worst of any Newcastle player who started more than ten games.
He’s managed just four goals and four assists in 75 games in all competitions for Newcastle’s senior side, while after averaging a match rating of 6.87 in his breakthrough 2018/2019 campaign, that has fallen to 6.37 and 6.36 in the following seasons.
The £3.6m-rated Swift could be the exciting Longstaff upgrade Newcastle need in the middle of the park.