Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez tells Gareth Southgate he needs Jamaal Lascelles

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez tells Gareth Southgate he needs Jamaal Lascelles

Beating a number of top clubs to the youngster's signature would certainly be a statement of intent for the Magpies ahead of the coming years, where the Tyneside outfit will look to establish themselves as a stable club within the Premier League.

Benitez spoke to Ashley - who returned from a holiday in the US this week - last month. The 57-year-old has been reluctant to talk about the transfer window in his recent press conferences, though that position could change.

"We have to think we will do something before January 31", said Benitez. I have heard people talking about our players, but we do not have any offers.

However, while Benitez may be prepared to do business with some of his fringe players - Jack Colback is perhaps the most high-profile - he has no intention of cashing in on men he believes can aid the club's cause. But if they talk about loans we are not interested because we need them.

Lascelles has been important for Newcastle this season - they have collected 21 points from the 16 league games in which he has featured, and just one from the six in which he has not - and Benitez will hope he can build upon that record when Swansea head for St James' Park on Saturday.

Newcastle have been in discussions with Chelsea about a loan deal for winger Kenedy.

Jonjo Shelvey
GETTYJonjo Shelvey won't leave Newcastle insists Rafa Benitez

"We are working (on transfers) but there is no news at the moment".

Benitez has stressed the need for additions if Newcastle are to stay up, but he has not made one signing so far this month, and he surely now will be hoping that he does not have to watch another player on his wishlist join a different club.

And when asked if Ashley had told him what his budget would be, Benitez said: 'No, we are still working'.

"My belief is that we will do what we have to do".

Meanwhile, Benitez has ruled out selling midfielder Jonjo Shelvey to West Ham United.

He said: "We are clever enough to understand the difference is still very small in terms of points".

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