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Newcastle played a blinder with the signing of Jamaal Lascelles

There was a changing of the guard behind the scenes at Newcastle United in October of last year as PIF completed their takeover of the club from Mike Ashley.

This also led to a change in the dugout as Steve Bruce was relieved of his duties and replaced by Eddie Howe, who was available after leaving Bournemouth at the end of the previous season.

Since their arrival, the Saudi Arabian consortium have backed the manager in the transfer market by signing the likes of Kieran Trippier, Bruno Guimaraes, Alexander Isak, and Sven Botman, among others, to improve the squad.

Their work in their first two windows has resulted in a changing of the guard on the pitch too, as some of the longer-serving members of the squad have found themselves on the fringes.

One player from the Ashley era who has taken a backseat in terms of his importance to the team is central defender Jamaal Lascelles. The Englishman has only played once in the Premier League this season, after featuring 26 times last term, following the signings of Botman and Dan Burn in 2022.

Despite his time at the club potentially coming to an end due to his lack of minutes, Lascelles has been a fantastic signing for Newcastle and has been a fine servant since his arrival in 2014.

The Magpies signed him from Nottingham Forest just over eight years ago and he was valued, by Transfermarkt, at just £540k at the time of the move.

Since then, he has gone on to play 216 competitive matches for the Toon in all competitions and has featured in 153 top-flight games during his time at St. James’ Park.

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He has been the club captain since the 2016/17 campaign in the Championship, with then-manager Rafa Benitez hailing his off-pitch qualities: “We have a few players now in the squad who have the character to be captain, but Jamaal has proven himself to be a leader and a big personality in the dressing room and on the pitch.”

Howe previously hailed his “heroic” defending and, back in 2018, the centre-back admitted that young fans looking up to him as their “hero” motivated him to kick on, highlighting his responsibility as a role model off the pitch.

At the time of writing, Transfermarkt values him at £9m. This means that the 28-year-old’s valuation has rocketed by roughly 1,566% since his move to the club in 2014, which illustrates how much the defender has achieved in that time.

Therefore, Ashley played a blinder by signing Lascelles from Forest eight years ago. Not only did he bring in a talented young player who has gone on to be a key part of the team for many, many, years, but he also signed a terrific person who has clearly been a positive influence behind the scenes and to the supporters.