Jamaal Lascelles is attracting ongoing attention ahead of the January transfer window.
The Newcastle captain has been linked with a number of other clubs ever since he led NUFC back into the Premier League.
Worrying about losing players hasn’t been as high on the fans’ agenda in recent times after Mike Ashley sold off most of the likely candidates in previous seasons.
However, the impact of Jamaal Lascelles last season on Newcastle’s results, both for his ability as a player and leadership as a captain, ensured the speculation surrounding him only grew.
Amongst the Premier League clubs who were credited with interest, The Chronicle now report that their information is that Chelsea and Tottenham have continued to send scouts to watch the former Forest player in action, with bids possibly to follow in January.
The two clubs have made decent starts to the season and are third and fifth respectively, only three (Chelsea) and five points (Spurs) off the top.
However, whereas the top pair have only conceded seven goals between them (Man City three, Liverpool four), Chelsea have conceded seven and Tottenham eight.
Not shockingly bad totals but with small margins mattering so much at the top, they are continually looking to close those margins, with defenders often easier and cheaper to recruit compared to creative players and goalscorers.
No indication previously that the club or Rafa Benitez were interested in selling the player, nor of Jamaal Lascelles being desperate to leave.
However, we know from past experience that things can quickly change.
As it happens, Federico Fernandez has rubber-stamped that belief that bargains can still be had in defensive positions, as Martin Dubravka has also done.
Fernandez arrived for £6m from Swansea and has shown great consistency despite the failings elsewhere in the team, so much so that he has easily been Newcastle’s best defender so far this season, possibly the most impressive overall alongside Dubravka.
Once Lejeune is fully fit then Rafa will have a very interesting dilemma in terms of who to play, maybe even finding a system where he can use all three.
No doubt some people will wonder if Lejeune is fit by January, whether desperation for signings elsewhere in the team, would possibly see Rafa prepared to sacrifice his captain if a big offer came in. However, after his experience this summer, particularly with the Mitrovic sale, will not give him great confidence of any sale fee being made available to him to strengthen.
If the worst happened and Newcastle were relegated at the end of this season and Rafa Benitez left, most fans seem resigned to the fact that Jamaal Lascelles would then call it a day as well.
He turns 25 in 11 days time and even if Newcastle bounced straight back from a relegation, if he stayed Lascelles would find himself turning 27 only two months into that 2020/21 season.
After seeing an endless succession of other centre-backs, Brighton’s Lewis Dunk the latest, called up by Gareth Southgate, it doesn’t exactly help in terms of convincing the better NUFC players that their futures should be at St James Park.
Bottom line is that struggling clubs will always be worried about their best players being lured away and even if Newcastle survive this season, with Mike Ashley as owner, a struggle seems all but guaranteed season after season with no ambition to be better than that.