NEWCASTLE UNITED are monitoring Nottingham Forest defender Jamaal Lascelles, but they face competition from Premier League leaders Arsenal for his signature.
Reports yesterday suggested that both clubs had made an offer for the 20-year-old, who has impressed for Billy Davies’ side in the Championship this season.
Forest are keen to keep Lascelles at the City Ground, though, and have offered him a new deal to stay with the club.
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Magpies boss Alan Pardew remains close to signing Dutch forward Luuk de Jong in a deal that could see Papiss Cisse move in the opposite direction, but he is also looking at potential replacements for Fabricio Coloccini, who is likely to leave St James’ Park at the end of the season.
Pardew has expressed a desire to add some British talent to his squad in the past and Lascelles would fit the club’s transfer blueprint as a young upcoming player who could command a decent sell on fee in the future.
However, Forest will not let the defender leave on the cheap and could demand a big fee to ward off potential suitors.
St Etienne’s Kurt Zouma has also been under consideration, but Newcastle’s chances of landing the French youth international have diminished after the 19-year-old revealed he would love to join Chelsea.
Newcastle face strugglers West Ham at the Boleyn Ground tomorrow looking to end a four-game losing streak.
The Magpies are yet to record a win in 2014 and have subsequently dropped to eighth in the table despite putting themselves into contention for a European place after a run of four wins in November.
The Hammers are boosted by the return of former Newcastle forward Andy Carroll, who is set to make his first start of the season against his old club tomorrow.
Sam Allardyce has been handed a further boost after Ravel Morrison revealed he was available after injury. West Ham rejected a bid from Fulham for the midfielder last week and some reports suggested the former Manchester United prodigy had gone on strike in a bid to force through a move.
However, Morrison insists he is ready to return after recovering from injury. He said: “I've been working really hard over the past few weeks to get back to full fitness after missing a couple of recent games with a groin injury.
“I'm feeling fine now and I'm hoping to be involved in Saturday's important game with Newcastle and then the Capital One Cup semi-final with Manchester City on Tuesday.
“Although it is frustrating to read some of the reports in the media, I always try to keep my focus on the next game and show people with my performances on the pitch that I want to do well for West Ham United.”