Newcastle United supporters remain in high spirits in the Transfer Tavern over a week on from their side’s massive 1-0 success over Manchester United in the Premier League, a result which moved the North East giants out of the bottom three.
Rafa Benitez’s men fell into the relegation zone just prior to their kick-off against the Red Devils following Huddersfield Town’s 4-1 win over Bournemouth earlier in the day, yet the Magpies responded admirably with a sensational performance and deserved victory at St James’ Park. Matt Ritchie’s strike midway through the second half was enough to clinch all three points for Benitez’s side, moving them up to 13th in the Premier League table with just 11 games of the season remaining.
Thus, there have been many buoyant Newcastle fans in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are hoping that the win over United can be the catalyst for a run of form which completely banishes any lingering relegation concerns.
In the meantime though, there has been much for our resident Magpies supporters to discuss, not least recent reports suggesting that Chelsea are considering a move for captain Jamaal Lascelles in the summer.
And while the Blues may come in with a very tempting offer for the 24-year-old, the North East giants would be stupid to sell the defender, as he has played as big a part as anyone in helping Newcastle to 13th place in the division.
Ultimately, the centre-back has enjoyed a sensational season at the back for Benitez’s side, starting 21 of their 27 Premier League games so far, with injury thwarting his chances in the other six.
The former Nottingham Forest man is comfortably the best centre-half at St James’ Park and that has been emphasised by his efforts in both boxes, be it last-ditch clearances at one end or grabbing key goals from set-plays at the other.
The fact the club negotiated a new six-year deal with Lascelles back in October speaks volumes about how highly he is rated at the club, and if the Magpies are striving to climb up the division and re-establish themselves as a top-flight side in the coming years, they have to keep hold of their best players.
If, and it is a still a big ‘if’ at this stage, Newcastle do remain in the Premier League come the end of the season, then Lascelles can claim to have played an integral role in keeping them in the top tier – that’s how influential and vital he has been and will continue to be for the club.
And while the likes of Florian Lejeune, Ciaran Clark, Chancel Mbemba, and even Paul Dummett are solid centre-backs, taking the 24-year-old out of that backline significantly weakens it, both in terms of footballing ability and leadership.
So while the money Chelsea might offer for Lascelles is likely to be sizable, Newcastle parting with the defender this summer would be a stupid decision, and arguably their stupidest in many a year.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!