Some of the best business that Newcastle have done over the past year was getting captain Jamaal Lascelles to sign a new contract recently until 2024.
While this is a major coup to have the 24-year-old secured with a long-term contract, there is a chance that the player would have made his intentions clear as to what he expects from the club. While it is obvious that the player would probably not stick around should The Magpies get relegated at the end of the season, he may have had sterner demands.
It must be hugely uninspiring for a player to be at a club in a chronic state of inertia; they’ll do what they can to stay afloat in the Premier League but no more. Therefore, it seems highly likely that Lascelles will be out the door in one of the coming transfer windows should Mike Ashley refuse to bolster the squad.
A spending spree is clearly what manager Rafa Benítez wants at St James’ Park, and it is likely that Lascelles desires the same. With the risk of both pivotal men leaving if this doesn’t happen, Ashley may be coerced to open his wallet.
In truth, it is hard not to blame Lascelles though. Being an England under-21 international, he will obviously have aspirations of making Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions. However, in a team that seem to be struggling so severely, it may be hard for him to make an impression. He will either need to move to a bigger club, or Newcastle must significantly improve, otherwise his chances of representing England will be hampered.
There is a host of Premier League clubs that will be interested in the centre-back, and Ashley will surely be aware of this. Therefore, the new contract may have been a measure to ensure The Magpies get the most from the player when he is sold, with the club fearing his inevitable departure.
Step up, Mr Sports Direct…
If pundits and The Toon had to put money on whether Lascelles will still be at the club in three years time, even the most optimistic fans would accept that he may not be. But in a club that seems to lack so much ambition, it is hard to blame the defender.