COMMENT By Richard Parks
West Ham are in hot pursuit of Newcastle United skipper Jamaal Lascelles but they are embarrassing themselves with a lowball bid.
The Sun on Sunday claim the east Londoners have identified the centre-back, 24, as one of their main summer targets as they step up plans to overhaul a team that has had a wretched campaign.
It is said that Hammers chiefs are planning on a £15million bid for Lascelles as they look to sign some proven Premier League players to appease disgruntled supporters.
To paraphrase John McEnroe, you cannot be serious.
Now, David Sullivan and David Gold are not unaccustomed to attempting to fleece anyone who comes in their path, including their own supporters.
Newcastle supporters’ reaction to West Ham’s supposed pursuit of Lascelles is likely to be one of indignation. And who could blame them?
After all, £15million wouldn’t even buy the right leg of a player who has been one of the shining lights for the north-east giants of not only this season but also their promotion campaign in 2016-17.
Lascelles is impressive and improving centre-back who leads from the front and puts his body on the line for the team’s cause.
He has been a key performer for Newcastle this season, starting 24 of the team’s 30 Premier League fixtures, and is a huge favourite among supporters who appreciate his appetite for the battle and willingness to dredge every last ounce out of his talent.
Given that Everton paid £30million for Michael Keane, an inferior defender, last summer, Newcastle’s valuation of a player who is proven in the Premier League and has five years remaining on his contract is likely to be closer to £50million than £15million.
Pack it in, West Ham, and start with a bid that shows you’re serious if you actually want to buy Lascelles.