Jamaal Lascelles admits there were several clubs keen on signing him, with Everton at the front of the queue before he joined Newcastle United.
The 27-year-old came up through the Nottingham Forest youth ranks before making 66 appearances for the senior side. Having impressed at the heart of defence, he was snapped up by the Magpies in the summer of 2014.
Signed on the same day as Forest team-mate Karl Darlow, he was sent back to the City ground on a season-long loan for 2014/2015. Darlow joined him in returning to the East Midlands before the duo headed to St James’ Park the following year.
Lascelles has become a consistent performer in the Newcastle rearguard, enjoying 174 outings in all competitions. But it appears as though the north-east outfit was not the only club interested in the centre-back.
Arsenal seemed keen although, just 21 at the time, he was shielded from the speculation by his family.
“The Arsenal interest, it was there. I think it was definitely there. I cannot remember who my agent was at the time,” he told the Getting Messi Podcast.
“But not much was fed back to me because I was 18 and concentrating on my job. My Dad wanting it to not affect me or my ego. That was kind of kept away from me.”
Toffees made first move
Lascelles is firmly established as one of Steve Bruce’s first-choice defenders. The Derby-born stopper has played in eight of Newcastle’s nine Premier League games this term.
He also scored in the 7-0 EFL Cup thrashing of Morecambe and looks set face Crystal Palace on Friday. But it could have all been very different. Having been shown round Everton’s Finch Farm training ground, he might have been wearing blue instead of black and white.
“The Everton thing, I actually went to the Everton training ground and had a look around and stuff,” he added. “They were interested. I am not sure why it didn’t happen but they were interested as well. As a kid, there has always been paper talk and speculation.”
Darlow followed a similar path and is now reaping the rewards of patience. Having warmed the substitutes bench for the past few years, he is now the club’s number one goalkeeper.
It has been tough for the Newcastle defence, with only one clean sheet all season in the league. They have lost their last two top-flight games and need to turn things around at Selhurst Park.
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