Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has moved to quell any fears from fans regarding his own future and that of captain Jamaal Lascelles.
Lascalles has been linked Chelsea and Liverpool in recent weeks, whilst West Ham are supposedly keen on speaking to Benitez should they relieve Slaven Bilic of his duties.
However, Benitez told the Northern Echo that he does not envisage significant changes at the club in the near future. He said, “I don’t see any big change now at the club as a whole. I am giving you my answer – I don’t see any big changes at the club in January.”
Yet, the speculation linking Lascelles away from St James Park has not gone unnoticed by the former Liverpool boss.
“I saw the links about Jamaal, but I have been talking with him and with more people around him. He’s happy, he’s OK and we think that he’s a good player for us, so I don’t see any big change in January around him, or anyone really,” he told reporters.
Benitez also moved quickly to distance himself from rumours that he may be considering an offer from West Ham. The Spaniard has history with the Hammers and spoke to the club regarding the vacant manager’s role in the summer of 2015. However at the time, Benitez chose the slightly more glamourous offer of Real Madrid.
When quizzed about the possibility of speaking to West Ham once again, Benitez claimed his only concern is returning Newcastle to the Premier League.
He said, “I have a lot of respect for West Ham because when I was in contact with them, they were really good and professional. But I am really happy here and we carry on trying to win games.
“At the moment, I’m really pleased here. I’m not thinking about anything … just winning against Wigan and getting promoted at the end of the season.”
Newcastle travel to the DW Stadium on Wednesday night knowing that a win could return them to the top of the table after Brighton moved above them on Tuesday.
Benitez and the rest of the squad will be hoping they can build upon Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Birmingham City, where top goal scorer Dwight Gayle netted a hat trick for the Magpies.