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Rafael Benítez claims Chelsea transfer target is happy at Newcastle

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Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Chelsea loaning Kenedy to Newcastle United in the winter transfer window was a solid piece of business that’s done a favor to all parties involved. The youngster, now playing in a proper attacking position instead of being shoehorned into defence, is flourishing and attracting interest from top clubs in Europe; Newcastle are riding high in good form, thanks in large part to Kenedy’s own good form; and Chelsea may look at his success and either bring him back or sell him on for profit.

But the links between Chelsea and Newcastle do not stop there, with recent reports claiming that the Blues are keen on Jamaal Lascelles. There haven’t been any follow-up rumblings since the rumor first dropped in February, although the centre-back’s solid performances in recent times should have kept Chelsea’s attention.

Still, it should not come as no surprise that current Newcastle boss Rafael Benítez, once briefly of Chelsea, is not interested in losing his side’s captain. Plus, according to Benítez, Lascelles is “quite happy” with life at St. James’ Park.

“He’s happy, training well, he’s improving, he’s focused. You can’t stop speculation about players, but I was talking with him for a while last week and the focus is just trying to improve his game.”

“I think at the moment he knows he has to continue progressing and learning, but he is quite happy here.”

-Rafael Benítez; source: Independent

In terms of squad strength, centre back is probably one of the better stocked positions in the squad, especially once we consider loanees like Kurt Zouma (remember Kurt Zouma?), who is at Stoke City and garnering plenty of praise from teammate and fellow defender Ryan Shawcross.

Still, Lascelles ticks many boxes in what we should be looking for in the transfer market. If he carries his form through to the season’s end, he will most certainly find himself with plenty of suitors and options for big-money moves, should he so choose.