The Newcastle United supporters were absolutely ecstatic in the Transfer Tavern over the course of the Easter weekend after watching their side record a priceless victory over Huddersfield at St James’ Park, but recent reports concerning Jamaal Lascelles have slightly dampened their spirits.
Ayoze Perez has taken plenty of criticism from the Toon Army this season, but he stole their hearts with a goal-scoring performance to savour on Saturday afternoon as Newcastle moved 7-points clear of the relegation zone with a 1-0 victory over David Wagner’s side at St James’ Park. Newcastle were by far the better team during a tense afternoon for both clubs and they thoroughly deserved their victory.
Rafa Benitez will be insisting that there is still plenty of work to be done this season, but it’s fair to say they are in a commanding position as the season moves into its final stages. Newcastle’s survival effort this year owes a great debt to the performances of their captain Jamaal Lascelles who has been an inspirational figure at centre-back.
The resident Magpies propping up our bar can regularly heard waxing lyrical about the quality of his performances, but they are concerned that his form will attract interest from rival clubs this summer. Accroding to The Daily Mirror, the fears of the supporters have already come to fruition, as Chelsea are set to make a £30 million bid to prise him away from Tyneside during the summer transfer window.
A transfer which saw Lascelles swap the North-East for West London would be a devastating blow for Newcastle to take, but they must be prepared to allow him to leave if he decides its in the best interests of his career. There is no point in Newcastle forcing an unhappy player to stay at the club against his will, so Benitez may need to find a way of concluding a somewhat positive deal for Lascelles.
One way in which he could soften the blow of losing Lascelles is through making the deal a cash plus player agreement with Ruben Loftus Cheek (valued at £7.2 million by Transfermarkt) moving to Tyneside as part of the transfer. The 22-year-old has struggled to remain fit so far this season due to complications with various injury problems, but he has looked sharp and full of quality during his loan spell at Crystal Palace when he has been fit.
Loftus-Cheek also impressed during his first two appearances for England back in November and deservedly claimed the man of the match award following The Three Lions 0-0 draw with Germany. His performance that day suggests he is destined for a bright future in English football, so if Chelsea are going to take a future star from Newcastle’s ranks this summer, it makes sense for The Magpies to receive one in return.