Newcastle United

Newcastle United

Premier League • England

Double Liverpool blow as Newcastle join race for top England star ahead of £80m ‘auction’

Bukayo Saka and Declan Rice

Liverpool will face competition from Newcastle United to sign two of their biggest midfield transfer targets, according to reports.

Newcastle have only been in the market for elite players since their big-money takeover went through in October 2021. Since then, the Magpies have been able to sign top stars such as Alexander Isak, Sven Botman and Bruno Guimaraes.

Those players have helped Eddie Howe’s team to become genuine challengers for Champions League qualification. Newcastle sit in fourth place at the time of writing, behind only Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United.

Newcastle’s financial power means they can trouble Europe’s biggest teams in transfer pursuits by offering players lucrative contracts. And if they make the Champions League for next season, then that will be another big reason why players might join them over other major clubs.

Liverpool are one of the sides fearing the worst. Newcastle could finish above them in the Premier League this term, as well as stealing one or two of their transfer targets at the end of the season.

On Friday, German outlet Bild revealed Newcastle had joined the likes of Liverpool and Real Madrid in hunting Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham.

And things could get even more dire for Jurgen Klopp, with Newcastle now in the mix to sign fellow Liverpool-linked ace Declan Rice.

As per Football Insider, Newcastle are expected to push hard to sign Rice this summer. West Ham will put their captain up for ‘auction’ as he is refusing to extend his contract beyond 2024.

Liverpool face Newcastle threat for duo

If Real get to Bellingham before Liverpool, then Klopp may instruct Reds chiefs to put all of their money towards Rice instead. But now there is the real possibility of Liverpool losing out on the Hammers talisman to Newcastle.

The report adds that Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United will all make enquiries about Rice as well.

It also provides some insight on how much Rice’s next club will have to spend on him. David Moyes has previously claimed he will cost as much as £150m when departing the London Stadium.

But with his contract running down, West Ham cannot realistically demand such a hefty price. And they are now hoping to make £80m back on their academy graduate.

Signing Rice for this amount of money would see Newcastle break their transfer record. That is currently the £60m they spent on striker Isak in August last year.

Rice would certainly be a brilliant signing for Newcastle. He is one of the best midfielders in the Premier League and at 24 could form part of Howe’s project for years to come.

Having said that, there may be some debate about whether Newcastle actually need to spend £80m to improve their midfield. After all, Howe can currently rely on Guimaraes, Joe Willock, Joelinton and Sean Longstaff in the centre of the pitch.

If Newcastle were to snub the opportunity at signing Rice, Liverpool would be delighted.

Meanwhile, Allan Saint-Maximin could leave Newcastle for a Premier League rival amid claims they have been tapping him up.