Everton are among a clutch of Premier League clubs in the hunt to sign Newcastle United centre-back Jamaal Lascelles, according to a report.
The Newcastle Chronicle claims Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea are also keeping close tabs on Lascelles, 24, and that has forced the Magpies’ chiefs into throwing caution to the wind.
It is understood that Rafa Benitez and director of football Lee Charnley are well aware of interest in the former Nottingham Forest defender, who has been in great form for Newcastle this season and has even been tipped to earn a call-up to the England international squad.
The report adds that is why Newcastle moved quick to improve Lascelles’ deal to £35,000-a-week last year.
However the Magpies captain is said to be nowhere near to being the top earner at St James’ Park – which is Jonjo Shelvey at £80,000-a-week, so that reportedly could cause problem if the centre-back’s agent gets offers from elsewhere.
Football Insider verdict
Everton need to strengthen their defence in the summer. Michael Keane has been a massive flop while the likes of Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka are getting no younger. Lascelles has been in great form at St James’ Park and is perhaps a better defender than Keane. It seems as though Newcastle may have to offer the centre-back a new deal in order to fend of those who are interested in signing him this season. £35,000-a-week is not a lot for an important player at a Premier League club as big as the Tynesiders, but with Mike Ashley not supplying Benitez with enough funds, the club may have to cash in.
In other Newcastle United news, the Magpies are in the hunt to sign this proven Premier League performer from a top-seven club.