According to a recent report from The Newcastle Chronicle, Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez does not want to sell Jonjo Shelvey this month amid interest from West Ham. The Englishman has been at St James’ Park since 2016 after leaving Swansea City, although just 11 Premier League appearances for the Magpies this season has called his future at the club into question.
Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers, as well as Claudio Ranieri’s Fulham, are reportedly keen on the 26-year-old, only for Benitez to state that the midfielder is not for sale this month – yet that shouldn’t deter Pellegrini from testing Newcastle’s resolve as he eyes up the central midfield reinforcements West Ham so desperately need.
Ultimately, the summer departure of Cheikhou Kouyate to Crystal Palace has left the East London outfit somewhat short in the middle of the park this season, with Declan Rice’s remarkable rise somewhat bailing the club out of what looked set to be a serious problem in the centre of the pitch.
Mark Noble continues to do a decent job in that area and Pedro Obiang adds much needed strength to those ranks, but with the latter possibly set for a move away this month, Pellegrini could find himself struggling even more in the centre of midfield – Carlos Sanchez and Jack Wilshere remain injured as well to throw another spanner in the works.
As such, while Shelvey isn’t perhaps the most defensive-minded of central midfielders, his presence would add a great deal to a Hammers midfield clearly in need of improvements in this month’s transfer window.
The 26-year-old made the move to Newcastle in 2016 as the North East giants sought the signings needed to keep them in the top-flight that season, only for the club to eventually lose their Premier League status come the summer.
Yet Shelvey stayed with the club to help them return to the top tier at the first time of asking, before appearing 30 times last season as Benitez’s men defied the odds to record a hugely impressive tenth place finish in the Premier League table – Shelvey certainly played his part in that effort with one goal and three assists over the course of the campaign.
And with a much-improved disciplinary record in recent times, he hasn’t been booked at all this season, it appears as though Shelvey is slowly but surely becoming a more reliable option in the middle of the park – alongside the rapidly improving Rice, whose off the ball traits have been particularly impressive this term, the duo could strike up a formidable central midfield partnership, what with Shelvey extremely effective on the ball.
As such, while Benitez has made clear that the Englishman isn’t for sale this month, Pellegrini and West Ham simply have to test Newcastle’s resolve by making a move for the 26-year-old, as doing so could go some way to solving their key issue in the middle of the park.
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