Rangers wanted to sign on-form Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff on loan last season, according to former manager Rafa Benitez.

The Spaniard revealed that Steven Gerrard called his former boss for a favour as he looked to bulk up his Ibrox side last campaign.

Longstaff would go on to make his Premier League breakthrough at the Magpies last season and Benitez sees this as the perfect justification for turning down the approach.

Longstaff is one of the most highly sought after youngsters in the Premier League. (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

“In the summer (2018), Stevie called me about Sean Longstaff,” said Benitez [The Athletic, as quoted by the Daily Record].

“Rangers were interested and he asked whether they could sign him on loan, but I told him “no” – he’d be staying at Newcastle United.

“Some people have said, ‘Oh, Rafa was lucky because of Longstaff’, but we’d been watching him and we were happy with him, we played him in the first-team, supported him and gave him confidence.

“Turning Rangers down is proof of what we thought of Sean.”

Midfielder Longstaff is now one of the hottest properties in English football after bursting onto the scene at St. James’ Park.

Rafa Benitez – Gerrard’s former boss at Liverpool during the legendary Champions League win in Istanbul – was in charge at Newcastle United between March 2016 and June 2019. (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)

Likened to the likes of Michael Carrick, Longstaff has been the subject of reported £50m transfer interest from the likes of Manchester United [the Sun].

Despite Rangers being unsuccessful in their approach, it’s good to know that the club’s scouting network is very much in the know when it comes to the Premier League’s emerging talents.

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