Jamaal Lascelles had been impressive for Newcastle this season, not only for his solid play in central defense but also because of his leadership skills on and off the field.
It’s now little wonder to supporters that Rafa appointed him the Newcastle captain the summer before last, even though he was only a 22-year-old at the time.
Jamaal then led Newcastle to promotion after playing with a groin problem from October 2016 through just before the end of that season.
The former Nottingham Forest player continued to play through the pain and as soon as we were promoted he had an operation on his groin.
Jamaal Lascelles – after scoring against Stoke
So it’s not surprising that Chelsea are said to be monitoring the Newcastle captain, according to the Evening Standard.
We have heard whispers coming from the Blues for a year or so now related to Lascelles and their proposed interest in signing him, but we doubt that Rafa will let his captain go anywhere.
The news is that Chelsea want to recruit more English players and have brought in Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley since last summer.
They are also wanting to lower the average age of the team with Jamaal being only 24 years old.
It will be a step up currently for the 24-year-old, and he will get to play European football.
However, we don’t think Rafa will even think of letting Jamaal go and will tell him that he intends to lead Newcastle to new heights in the seasons ahead and wants him to remain as the Newcastle captain.
Jamaal has just recently signed a new and improved long-term deal at Newcastle.
As Rafa starts to build up his new Newcastle side as quickly as he can under miserly Mike Ashley, we expect more of the big clubs to come after our players.
That will simply be evidence and validation that we have (very) good players in the side.