Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles is paying little attention to speculation suggesting that he could be a summer transfer target for Chelsea and Everton.
The 24-year-old is registering on the radar of the Magpies’ Premier League rivals after proving his worth in the English top-flight.
Having cut his teeth at that level in 2015-16, Lascelles has returned in 2017-18 a better and more mature player for his past experiences.
He has been an on-field leader at Newcastle for some time, with Rafa Benitez having passed him the armband, and while others may be keen to buy into his many qualities, the Nottingham Forest academy graduate is turning a deaf ear to the exit talk.
“When you’re flicking through Twitter or people say there’s rumours about this, that and the other you’re aware of it but I don’t take any notice,” Lascelles told Sky Sports.
“I’m a Newcastle player, I’m happy here, I’m the captain and things are going really well. You hear about rumours, but I’m just concentrating on Newcastle.”
That is music to the ears of Benitez, who has already stated that he has no intention of sanctioning a sale.
He told reporters when quizzed on the interest being shown in Lascelles: “I don’t know if it is Chelsea or any other one.
“We are talking about a young English centre-back and there are not too many English centre-backs who are young, who can play in the Premier League.
“So he has so many positive things and the main one thing for me is that he is keen to learn.
“So he has a lot of potential so a lot of clubs will be interested. Will they be able to sign him? I don’t think so.”
Lascelles would likely attract a few more suitors if he were to make the England squad heading to World Cup 2018, but he has cast doubt over his potential involvement in Russia despite calls for Gareth Southgate to give him a chance.
“I thought I had a chance of sneaking into the friendly games but I didn’t,” he said.
“It’d be a nice way to finish the season here, going to a World Cup, but Gareth Southgate likes who he likes.
“He picked his team last time and there’s a lot of competition in my position. Whoever he decides to go for, it’s up to him and congratulations to the players who do go.”