This will be flattering to hear for the NUFC skipper, with him clearly catching Mourinho’s eye, but it’s a good job the Portuguese boss was sacked when he was as far we’re concerned.
Lascelles struggled at the back end of last year, looking a shadow of the player we saw over the entire 2017/18 campaign at times, however he’s been solid as a rock since the turn of the year.
Here’s a snippet from ESPN’s piece – who claim that Mourinho had Lascelles on his list of January targets:
‘Jamaal Lascelles, the Newcastle United centre-half, was on a list of potential January defensive targets considered by Jose Mourinho prior to his dismissal as Manchester United manager in December, sources have told ESPN FC.
‘Despite interest in Leicester’s Harry Maguire, Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld, Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin, Colombia international Yerry Mina and Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng, the United hierarchy chose not to answer Mourinho’s demands for an experienced centre-half due to the manager having already signed Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof during his first two years in charge.
‘But with United struggling defensively in the opening months of the campaign, sources have told ESPN FC that Mourinho was expecting to recruit a new centre-half during the January transfer window.
Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar was a leading target, with Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly regarded as the favoured option, but one unlikely to be available until the summer.
‘Newcastle’s Lascelles was a surprise name on the list, however, with the 25-year-old’s performances for Rafael Benitez’s team earning the attention of United’s scouts.’
Interestingly, the piece states that a ‘commanding centre-half’ is STILL a ‘key target’ for Solksjaer’s Man Utd at the end of the season – so time will tell if Lascelles is on their list come the summer.
With us also having Lejeune, Schar, Fernandez and Clark at the club – four centre-backs who’ve come in and done commendable jobs so far this season – it makes you wonder if Ashley may just be tempted to cash in on Lascelles if a huge offer arrived.
Let’s hope not. He may have struggled at times late last year, but the skipper is a brilliant captain and monstrous defender – and someone Benitez would be hugely reluctant to lose despite our strong options in reserve.