Jonjo Shelvey has revealed Newcastle United stepped in to block a potential move to West Ham United this summer and is now playing for a new contract at St James’ Park, as quoted by the Chronicle.
Shelvey’s future on Tyneside was far from certain heading into the summer break, as the former England midfielder had made just 10 starts in Black and White during what was an injury-ravished final campaign working under Rafa Benitez in the North East.
West Ham, meanwhile, were searching for midfield reinforcements, and placed the 27-year-old – along with Magpies teammate Isaac Hayden – high on their shortlist for candidates to target, should their advances for Andre Gomes fall short (Daily Star) – which it eventually did, with the Portuguese favouring a permanent move to Everton (Liverpool Echo) following a season on loan at Goodison Park.
A deal for Shelvey to join the side he supported as a kid, allegedly, would have set the Hammers back £15million (Evening Standard), but the former Liverpool and Swansea City midfielder has now revealed United chiefs stepped in to block his exit, having come close to reaching an agreement with Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
“I’ve not once stated that I want to leave this club,” Shelvey said. “I was close to leaving to go to West Ham, but it never came – the club said no to it.
“I’m happy here, I love living in the city. My kids go to school here, they love it. The oldest one is starting to talk like a Geordie. My youngest one was born up here. I love living here.
“I’m playing for another contract at this football club, and I need to keep performing and keep training hard.”
While Newcastle were the ones who stepped in to prevent Shelvey from leaving St James’ Park in the summer, the Magpies’ decision would suggest they missed a trick by not offloading the £70,000-a-week (Spotrac) midfielder while interest remained strong.
The 27-year-old is one of Newcastle’s highest-earning players, yet it was without him that Steve Bruce won his first game of the season – coming in a 1-0 win away to last season’s Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur.
Toon supporters have frequently called for Shelvey to remain out of the starting line-up this season, as well, with fans (via HITC) suggesting he offers nothing to support the side beyond the occasional standout pass.
If Newcastle can build on the Spurs win with another solid performance at the weekend when they host Watford, and Shelvey does not feature, the Magpies’ decision not to accept West Ham’s advances could be one they come to regret.
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