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Opinion

‘How do you solve the problem of Jamaal Lascelles?’

1 week ago
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Well, the summer transfer window is open lads and lasses and now that the club have committed to their maiden signing of the summer, in retaining the services of last season’s excellent left back Matt Target.

I fully expect more recruits to follow him through the door and while all the natural excitement will be that of who comes in, it’s also very important to see who goes out of the club as well.

Much has been made of the large amount of players we still have left over from our last stint in the Championship, with previous owner Mike Ashley’s refusal to upgrade on those players likely to hamper the new owners attempts at refreshing the squad, albeit temporarily.

The forward line will be strengthened, that is a certainty, as we can’t simply rely on the fitness of Callum Wilson holding out for a full season, but I’ve said recently that, with the uncertainty surrounding the acquisition of centre back Sven Botman, I’m reasonably satisfied with what we have at the back. No really, I am.

However, I do envisage a problem on the horizon and one that will cause me to contradict myself.

Whilst I feel that getting rid of Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez are no brainers, the problem I’m talking about is that of Jamaal Lascelles. He’s a better standard than that of Clark and he’s more reliable than Fernandez who doesn’t seem to be favoured at all. He’s also the club captain and it’s here where I have the problem.

Jamaal Lascelles was once the first name on my team sheet every week and a good captain, however, I feel that both Dan Burn and Fabian Schar’s performances have surpassed Jamaal’s and I think the best choice of a new captain from the whole squad is Kieran Trippier.

I have my doubts that Jamaal Lascelles would be happy enough to lose the captaincy and still remain in the team, then that’s only if you prefer him over both Burn and Schar, which I don’t. This begs the question, how do you solve the problem of Jamaal Lascelles? The only viable course of action is a parting of ways.

It would hardly be a fall from grace as such, more of a player not being good enough moving forward, something which happens to many players.

There would be plenty of takers in the Premier League for his services. Like I’ve said, he’s still a decent centre-back and at 28 he still has some years ahead of him and would be a star signing for a lot of teams. I personally think he would fit in well with the leaky defence of Leeds United and both promoted sides Fulham and Bournemouth will likely be wanting readymade players for Premier League survival. Indeed, if they felt like chancing their arm financially, former club Nottingham Forest could have a dream return on their hands.

Either way, I feel we have reached that point with the player and I certainly have no hard feelings about it. Jamaal Lascelles has provided excellent value and service for this club in the past and both parties owe each other nothing. We gave him a platform to make the step up to the Premier League and he came in and put a lot of senior players at the time to shame, with his attitude and leadership, but unfortunately time moves on.

There are others that could and should be shipped out first of course. However, with talk of the club bringing in higher calibre centre-backs, with better options currently available and a legitimate alternative to replace him as captain for the good of the team…

Unless Jamaal Lascelles player himself is content to play second or third fiddle at the club, I think the sensible option is to cash in and reinvest in improving the squad.

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