Rafa Benitez has dropped a potential hint that he could be planning for an extended stay at Newcastle United, stating the he hopes Jamaal Lascelles ‘stays with US for years’ – suggesting he plans to continue developing the club captain over the coming seasons.
Chelsea’s interest in Lascelles is believed to stem back from 2016, however it’s emerged over the last few days that the Blues will make the NUFC skipper their ‘top defensive target’ over the summer, with the Northern Echo claiming that they could even pay £50m for the 24-year-old England hopeful.
Benitez has since responded, however, stating that he’s ‘calm’ about the situation and feels it’s ‘too soon’ for him to move, with him currently just staying focused on improving himself at Newcastle.
Here’s what the Spaniard had to say following strong rumours of Chelsea’s interest in the defender, with the last line appearing particularly key when it comes to the hint regarding his future.
”He (Lascelles) signed a contract extension this year, so we’re calm, we’re happy with that and hopefully he can continue learning and growing and improving.”
”He’s a player with all the potential to do well and I think it’s too soon for him to move. I was talking with him this week two or three times and we were not talking about anything else apart from the next game and how to improve.”
”He’s an important player for us and I’d be happy if he stayed with us for years.”
Now, this may be seen as clutching at straws, but Benitez is a man who always chooses his words carefully. He could have used the world ‘club’ or ‘Newcastle’, but instead stated that he hoped Lascelles stayed with ‘us’ for many more years.
Time will tell, but these hardly sound like the words of a man who doesn’t see himself at the club beyond the summer..
He’s clearly building for the future at NUFC and has every intention of staying – let’s just hope that those in charge allow him to do so.