The Newcastle United fans in the Transfer Tavern have been delighted by their side’s improvement in recent weeks and they are feeling confident about avoiding relegation as a consequence, but recent reports have given them reason to fear that they will be facing another relegation scrap next season.
For almost every team which earns promotion from The Championship to the Premier League, the immediate priority is consolidating top-flight status and building a platform from which to build for the future. Rafa Benitez’s side still have plenty of work to do in the final weeks of the season to ensure that they manage to beat the drop, but considering the extent of their improvement in recent weeks it seems more than likely that they will finish ahead of the bottom-three.
One of The Magpies’ key individuals to their season so far has undoubtedly been their captain Jamaal Lascelles who has been an unmovable rock at the heart of their defence. His leadership abilities combined with his willingness to throw everything on the line for the club have set a shining example to the players around him throughout the season so far.
When the individual awards are announced at the conclusion of the campaign, it will be no surprise if Lascelles (valued at £6.3 million by Transfermarkt) scoops at least one accolade to show for his efforts. However, according to The Sun, this could be the 24-year-old’s last season on Tyneside, as West Ham are interested in bringing him to The London Stadium next season.
The outcome of this particular transfer saga will certainly depend on the outcome of the relegation battle during the final weeks of the season, but if Newcastle stay in the Premier League they simply have to do everything in their power to keep Lascelles at St James’ Park, as their failure to do so will destroy their aspirations next season.
First and foremost, Lascelles is a brilliant defender who could be playing for a team in the top-half of the table, and he should be kept at the club based on that premise alone. However, the aforementioned leadership qualities he brings to the club are arguably more irreplaceable than the quality of his defensive work, and without a recognisable and familiar captain to lead the side next season, Newcastle could slip deep into a relegation scrap.
Lascelles is a vital component of Newcastle’s squad right now, and if the club wish to sustain their top-flight status for a significant period of time then they have to reject West Ham’s advances and do everything in their power to convince him to stay at the club whilst they are reestablishing themselves in the Premier League.