Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has insisted that the only way in which West Ham will be allowed to make a move for Jonjo Shelvey is if the Magpies are able to secure a suitable replacement in the January transfer window.
The midfielder has found himself on the periphery of Benitez's plans this season having accumulated two red cards following a string of ill-disciplined appearances which are a stark contrast to the devastating form he is capable of producing.
25-year-old Shelvey has been linked to a £12m move to West Ham and has been placed alongside striker Aleksandar Mitrovic on the potential departures list as he will also be allowed to leave St James' Park if a replacement can be secured.
Despite the continuous speculation, Benitez remained coy and played down the rumours of Shelvey's exit as when asked if he would sell the midfielder without a replacement he said, via the Newcastle Chronicle: "No, for sure. If we don't bring in players, it will be very difficult to lose players.
"Even if they are not happy, they still have to keep working and try to give them best for this team."
West Ham boss David Moyes is understood to be eager to add to his midfield options in January, but with the Magpies hovering dangerously above the relegation zone following just one win from their last 12 matches Benitez is not willing to risk losing players without suitable replacements.
The Newcastle boss was asked if his side are under increasing pressure following a string of poor results, he said: “No. It’s clear that we will have a similar situation until the end of the season, so the main thing is the message that I gave before: we have to stick together, stay clam and keep working hard, that’s it."