According to West Ham insider, Claret and Hugh, PIF are believed to be keen on landing the 23-year-old next summer, with the report suggesting that the northeast side views him as a player who could be the ‘cornerstone of their project’ for the long term.
The report suggests that the Tynesiders could well make a move at the end of the campaign if their stunning early season form continues, with the hope being that the potential prospect of Champions League football could tempt the 34-cap superstar into a move to St James’ Park.
Eddie Howe’s side are certainly not the only suitor for the midfielder, however, with the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City having been heavily linked of late, while recent speculation has suggested that the London Stadium outfit would be open to a sale.
Any move for the Hammers academy graduate – whose current deal is set to expire in the summer of 2024 – won’t come cheap, however, with the Three Lions star potentially set to command a fee north of £100m.
At present, Newcastle are seemingly not in major need of additions amid their rampant start to the Premier League season, having lost just once in their opening 15 games to put them firmly in the mix for a top-four berth.
That being said, however, the signing of a player such as Rice could well help take the club to even greater heights, with pundit Paul Parker previously stating that the Irons’ talisman is the type of player who can take a team to “another level“.
Lauded as the “best central midfielder in the country” by Parker, the £60k-per-week sensation has been in truly stunning form in east London in recent years, having developed from being a promising talent into something of a “force of nature“, according to journalist Rob Blanchette.
The mature figure – who has already racked up 215 appearances for his current side to date despite his youth – could well be the answer to Howe’s prayers, with Daily Mail journalist Craig Hope only recently suggesting that a new central midfield asset could be a “priority” for the club.
Slotting in Rice to the base of the midfield would add even greater quality to the Newcastle ranks, with the 6 foot 1 colossus able to offer something of a unique asset as a result of his strength both in and out of possession.
The Kingston-born machine notably ranks in the top 6% in Europe for interceptions made as a sign of his ball-winning knack, while he also possesses a gift for being able to drive his side up the pitch with a surging, line-breaking run, having notably finished first in the division for successful dribbles during the 2020/21 campaign.
With David Moyes’ side currently in a relegation battle after an underwhelming start to the season, Rice could well be tempted to jump ship if things do not improve in the New Year, with the ambitious project on offer at St James’ Park likely to be an attractive prospect.
Indeed, he could just take the Magpies to another level, one West Ham are unlikely to reach anytime soon.