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Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez has poured cold water on Chelsea’s chances of signing Jamaal Lascelles this summer.
The Blues are believed to be interested in the centre-back and are keen to reinforce their English core with Gary Cahill nearing the end of his stay at Stamford Bridge.
Lascelles has been a rock for the Magpies this season, helping Benitez’s side to safety four matches before the end of the season. The defender is being tipped for a call-up to England’s World Cup squad but Benitez says Newcastle are unlikely to sell their star man this summer.
‘I don’t know if it is Chelsea or any other one,’ said Benitez, when asked about interest in Lascelles.
‘We are talking about a young English centre-back and there are not too many English centre-backs who are young, who can play in the Premier League.
‘So he has so many positive things and the main one thing for me is that he is keen to learn.
‘So he has a lot of potential so a lot of clubs will be interested. Will they be able to sign him? I don’t think so.’
Chelsea’s interest in Lascelles stems from the club rather than from Antonio Conte and the Italian is expected to leave Stamford Bridge after the FA Cup final.
The former Juventus boss guided Chelsea to the league title last term but they need a slip-up from Liverpool on the final day of the Premier League season to avoid finishing outside of the top four.