According to The Gazette, Liverpool are eyeing a January move for Newcastle United’s Jamaal Lascelles.
The report claims that Liverpool have been keeping tabs on Newcastle United skipper Jamaal Lascelles with there a real of senior centre-halves at the club. Mamadou Sakho is almost certain to leave the club next month which leaves Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan as the club’s only senior central defenders.
There were rumours and whispers that Virgil Van Dijk was on Jurgen Klopp’s radar and it’s clear why that is a possibility. The Dutchman’s aggression and forward-thinking style of play would go hand in hand with Liverpool’s gegenpressing philosophy.
The Gazette claims that Liverpool sent scouts to watch Lascelles during Newcastle’s 4-0 win over Birmingham at St James’s Park last weekend. Liverpool’s scouts will reportedly watch Lascelles again with the intention of making a bid for the defender in January.
As per usual, Chelsea are also interested in a Liverpool target and Antonio Conte is ready to make an £18 million bid. Although, Lascelles himself denied links with Chelsea saying, “I saw a little bit (of the speculation). I really don’t know where that has come from. I can’t pay any interest in it.”
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He continued, “I am a Newcastle United player and my job is to stay here and hopefully be picking up a trophy at the end of the season. That is a long way away and that is my main objective and I won’t be thinking about anything else.”
Lascelles response to speculation surrounding a move away would also apply to any bids or negotiations from Liverpool. Having been handed the captain’s armband by Rafa Benitez, the defender has stepped up and has been one of Newcastle’s standout performers this season.
“It is an honour to be captain,” Lascelles said. “This is one of the best followings in the country in terms of how passionate the fans are. We will do our all.”
“When I sit back and think about it: last season not even making the squad, to now wearing the armband every week, it makes me proud of myself,” he said.
“22 is a young age to be captain at a very big club under Rafa Benitez. These events are special for me. I am leading this team and I am pleased.”
While Benitez may be a fan of Liverpool, having guided the club to a Champions League title in 2005, I doubt he is that much of a fan that he’d compromise his team’s chances of being promoted to the Premier League by selling his captain and one of his best players.
Even though Liverpool continue to be linked with attacking players, there have been very few concrete links to quality defenders. In 15 games this season, the Reds have conceded 20 goals. That’s nine more than table-toppers Chelsea and five more than second-placed Arsenal.
Liverpool’s road to title glory is being restricted by continuous defensive implosion. The 4-3 loss to Bournemouth is a perfect example of why Liverpool aren’t title contenders yet. Once a quality central defender to partner Matip is signed, only then can there be any question of title challenges.