Who would want to leave St James' Park right now? Surely not the influential club captain.
While summer signings a la Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie understandably portrayed as the poster boys of the ‘Rafalution’ on Tyneside, it’s quite remarkable that a player completely marginalised under Steve McClaren remains one of the most important components of the league’s strongest squad.
Jamaal Lascelles, after all, is Newcastle United’s captain at the age of just 22. A player who caught the eye of his Champions League winning manager almost immediately after he arrived at St James’ Park in March, thrust directly into the heart a team rapidly tumbling out of the Premier League.
And it’s credit to the former Nottingham Forest youngster that he never showed any signs of nerves while the previous wearer of the armband, 39-time capped Argentinian international Fabrizio Coloccini, imploded on a nigh-on weekly basis.
And, with top level defending striking a new low in the Premier League this weekend, it’s no surprise that a number of clubs are reportedly lining up to bid for Lascelles’ extensive services.
According to The Express, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who have dropped five points in their last two matches on the back of individual defensive errors, are ready to pay top dollar for one of the most naturally gifted English centre-halves on the market.
Furthermore, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, a man who knows a thing or two about defending having coached the illustrious BBC at Juventus and Italy, is reportedly willing to splash out £18 million on a long-term replacement for John Terry.
Not that Newcastle fans will be swayed by such figures.
Lascelles is going nowhere until he's organised the end of season party. Getting them all in an escape room and hoping Colback can't get out— Virtua Stiva (@__Stiva) December 13, 2016
Lascelles doing well but miles off playing for a top 6 team,let him progress under rafa.— Paul Wardle (@paulwallsend) December 13, 2016
Can't see any of these rumours about Lascelles going to Chelsea/L'Pool actually coming to fruition. He'll be in the Prem in 4 months time!— COCKERNEY MAG (@rossmclaren) December 13, 2016
That's Chelsea and now Liverpool linked with Lascelles. He might end up as a top player one day but he's MILES off that level now— Marc Duffy (@MarcSDuffy) December 13, 2016