By Russell Edge

24th Feb, 2018 | 8:07am

Benitez reveals Newcastle talks which fans will love after rival transfer hunt claim

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has revealed that defender Jamaal Lascelles is fully focused at the club and that his future lies on Tyneside amid claims of a Premier League transfer hunt for his signing.
The Chronicle have claimed that a host of top flight sides, including Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton, have all been keeping a close eye on the 24-year-old ahead of a potential swoop in the summer, despite him having signed a new long-term contract with the Magpies back in October.
However, Benitez says that he feels it is far too soon for the club captain to be considering a departure from St James’ Park, and says that his new deal, which runs until 2023, means Newcastle are in the driving seat over his future, allaying fears of fans who would have worried about his exit.
Revealing talks with Lascelles which show the players’ full focus on the Magpies, the Spanish boss told the Shields Gazette: “He’s an important player for us and I’d be happy if he stayed with us for years.
“He signed a contract extension this year, so we’re calm. We’re happy with that, and hopefully he can continue learning and growing and improving.
“He’s a player with all the potential to do well, and I think it’s too soon (for him to move).
“I was talking with him this week – two or three times – and we were not talking about anything else apart from Bournemouth and how to improve the game.”
Fans will love hearing that the former Nottingham Forest man is not distracted by rumours of a potential transfer, with the powerhouse defender a firm favourite of the Toon Army for his leadership and high quality performances.
He has made 24 appearances across all competitions this season, scoring three goals, and has a total of 92 outings under his belt.
In other Newcastle United news, Mark Lawrenson has delivered his prediction for the club’s clash against Bournemouth.

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