According to Sky Sports, West Ham have had a bid for Jamaal Lascelles rejected by Newcastle United.
Whilst this initial approach has been rebuffed by the Magpies, other clubs appear to be circling and Lascelles’ departure this summer is beginning to feel likely.
Rafa Benitez will know that one big bid is all that stands between him losing his defensive talisman and club captain. So the Spaniard will already be formulating plans should it come to pass that he has to replace the centre-back during this transfer window.
Both Jamaal Lascelles and Alfie Mawson performed well enough for their clubs last season to merit inclusion in one of Gareth Southgate’s England squads for a friendly match. Neither were able to make their senior international debut on that occasion, but it can only be a matter of time for both.
Mawson isn’t the same kind of centre-back as Lascelles. The Swansea man is more of a ball player rather than an organiser. Yet, whilst this wouldn’t be a like for like switch, Mawson’s arrival would add a new dimension to Benitez’s back line.
Gibson is reportedly a target of Southampton’s (as per The Sun), who are still seeking to replace Virgil van Dijk. Newcastle may look to hijack the deal should they lose Lascelles though.
The Middlesbrough man has been a rock at the back at the Riverside in recent seasons, but the Premier League is where he truly belongs. Newcastle would be smart to offer him that step up this summer.
Kurt Zouma spent last season on loan at Stoke, and may be farmed out by Chelsea on another temporary deal this time around. Given that the Frenchman is now 23 and not really in the first team picture at Stamford Bridge though, Newcastle may prefer to pursue a permanent move.
Zouma has got to prove he’s able to perform consistently enough in the Premier League, but all the raw materials are there for a top class centre-back. Rafa may well back himself to be able to get the best out of him.