West Ham offer club legend Noble exciting new role to keep him on payroll

West Ham United's Mark Noble during the Carabao Cup third round match at Old Trafford, against Manchester United

West Ham are reportedly in talks with captain Mark Noble about taking up a football executive role with the club at the end of the current campaign.

The Hammers legend is hanging up his boots this summer after spending his entire career in east London and the club are keen to keep the 34-year-old at the London Stadium in some capacity.

The Daily Mail reports that talks are underway between Noble and the club’s hierarchy, who Noble already has a close relationship with, over a leading football operations position.

Rob Newman was appointed West Ham’s head of recruitment in last year. However, the report adds there could be a role to work alongside the former Manchester City administrator for Noble.

Indeed, the Hammers want the legendary figure to have influence in shaping their future.

Speaking back in August, David Moyes hinted that Noble could take up a backroom role when he called it a day.

The Hammers chief said: “I think Mark has other ideas, maybe a role as a sporting director or a technical director rather than on the footballing side.”

Marina gives Chelsea free light for Rice and Kounde transfers

Chelsea’s number one target for this summer is West Ham midfielder Declan Rice along with Jules Kounde from Sevilla

Noble has made just four Premier League appearances this season, scoring once. The midfielder has found game time difficult due to the outstanding partnership between Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek in West Ham’s engine room.

Real join Rice chase

Meanwhile, the looming battle to sign West Ham ace Declan Rice may now include Real Madrid, and one observer reckons the 23-year-old is now worth an eye-watering sum.

Rice, Kalvin Phillips and Youri Tielemans are unarguably three of the finest central midfielders the Premier League has to offer. None of the trio play for members of the traditional top six – a fact that has ensured transfer links are increasingly common.

Tielemans is expected to be sold in the summer after it became clear he won’t pen fresh terms with Leicester. It’ll take a great effort to prise Phillips away from boyhood club Leeds, but today’s updates concern West Ham’s Rice.

Declan Rice and David Moyes during a West Ham warm-up

The holding midfielder has shown he is capable of far more than just the defensive dirty work this season. Rice is quickly developing into the complete midfielder, and the vultures are beginning to circle.

Man Utd have long been credited with interest. It’s easy to understand why given central midfield is regularly earmarked as their weakest position.

Adding further fuel to the fire were Rice’s recent comments on Gary Neville’s Overlap podcast. Rice insisted he does not want a trophy-less career. And it is unarguable that a move to a traditional powerhouse would aid his trophy desires.

Links to Chelsea have also ramped up in recent weeks. Monday’s Paper Talk (citing the Daily Telegraph) revealed Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia is willing to bankroll a blockbuster deal.

“Ancelotti will be in the race” for Declan Rice

However, according to Sky Italia journalist Gianluca di Marzio, competition is expected from Real Madrid.

Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti has seen first hand what Rice is capable of during his spell at Everton. According to Di Marzio, Ancelotti is certain to put Real in the race if they can finance a move.

“If there will be the possibility to have [Declan Rice], Ancelloti will be in the race,” said Di Marzio (via TribalFootball).

“I don’t know which strategy will Real Madrid will have in the future. But it depends on some players staying or going. For sure, Carlo Ancelotti likes him very much.”

Real’s interest makes sense given the age of their current starters in midfield. Ancelotti operates a three-man midfield, with Luka Modric (36), Casemiro (29), and Toni Kroos (32) his preferred triumvirate.

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