Several clubs are reportedly lining up bids for Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles – however, the defender has given a firm indication that he wants to remain at St James’ Park.
The 24-year-old featured in 33 of the Magpies’ 38 Premier League fixtures last season and played a pivotal part in the club’s successful mission to the beat the drop.
Lascelles, a fans favourite, had many calling for him to be selected for England's World Cup squad after he helped Rafael Benitez’ men to a 10th place finish coupled with the division's seventh-best defensive record.
And despite feeling unfortunate to miss out on Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad, it seems his performances have not gone unnoticed with Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, West Ham United and Arsenal all linked with a move for the defender.
However, Lascelles believes his immediate future lies on Tyneside and says it’s the happiest he's ever been.
“This is the happiest I’ve ever been” – Lascelles
When asked about his future, Lascelles told the ChronicleLive: “This is the happiest I’ve been. I'm playing week in, week out. And I’m the captain here, the fans love me, and I’ve got a good relationship with them because I love them. And we’re doing well, too.”
Lascelles admitted he has heard the rumours which have linked him elsewhere “you hear things, you hear rumours" but is "very happy here".
He added: "I’m a young player and I need to be playing football at a good club - and that’s what this is."
Benitez, whose future at Newcastle could also impact Lascelles’, handed the former Nottingham Forest man the United captaincy at the age of just 22 in 2016.
Since then, Lascelles has captained the side to a promotion and a top 10 finish, with his importance to the Magpies starting eleven echoing love from the Geordie faithful.
“This is the right club for me at the right time," said Lascelles. "We have a huge fanbase, an amazing manager, and this club is massive. It has so much history.
"As captain, I want to see how far we can go - and potentially take it back to where it belongs.”