Newcastle United have rejected a bid worth up to £25 million for captain Jamaal Lascelles from West Ham, according to Sky Sports. The 24-year-old is understood to be attracting a lot of interest from rival clubs with Everton another team being linked with a move. However, the report goes on to say that the player is not for sale.
That is understandable considering Lascelles’ worth to Newcastle. He was one of the standout players during their first season back in the Premier League with his leadership and defensive qualities there for all to see. He started in all 12 matches that the Magpies recorded victories, while the team conceded 15 goals in the five matches that he didn’t play. This works out at an average of three goals conceded per game.
Meanwhile, in the matches that he did play, Newcastle conceded 32 in 33, which is less than a goal every game. That is a remarkable record for a promoted team and underlines why Lascelles has seen his reputation soar in England. It was a major reason why the team managed to finish in the top-half of the table and Mike Ashley needs to realise what his captain is worth to the club.
The Chronicle report that Newcastle United are yet to receive a formal offer for the centre-back, despite the reports by Sky. Lascelles is thought to be happy at St James’ Park and Benitez will not want to lose his captain, regardless of the size of the offer being submitted. Upon returning to pre-season training, the 24-year-old said the following to the official club site:
“There’s not one player here that would try to just play here to try and get a move or for more or whatever. It’s not about that. We’re loyal.”
This has been a dressing room attitude that has been missing during the Mike Ashley era up to now with Newcastle’s top stars often being a run of good form away from a move to a bigger club.
Lascelles seems genuine in his affection towards the club and at the age of 24, there is no rush to move away from St James’ Park. He is the club captain and working under one of the best coaches in the game. The centre-back will only get better in the North East.
Supporters would be disappointed if Lascelles moved to West Ham. The Hammers are a more established Premier League club with greater ambition, as shown by this summer’s transfer window to date. However, the defender has the potential to move to a top-six club and would likely get that if he remained at Newcastle for another season.
It is encouraging that Newcastle have stated that he isn’t for sale, but there will always be a worry as long as Ashley owns the club. He has a history of selling the team’s best players and if a bigger offer is submitted, he may be tempted to sell. The club need to resist this as Lascelles is an important symbol to the supporters and Benitez.
The manager will want to build the team around his skipper and Lascelles’ presence is crucial in persuading Benitez to remain with the club long term. There is a stand-off over the Spaniard’s future as the club want him to sign a new deal. There is no chance that will happen if the team captain is sold.