'Him & Declan Rice? I like the sound of it' - Exclusive: Bent raves at West Ham midfield plan

Darren Bent believes West Ham could be the ideal destination for Jonjo Shelvey were he to leave Newcastle United this summer.

The former Tottenham and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes the midfield maestro could do with a “fresh start” and that a return to east London would be perfect.

As revealed by Football Insider, the Hammers are planning to reignite their longstanding interest in the 28-year-old this summer after pushing for his capture for the last two years.

The former Liverpool midfielder signed a new contract in March which ties him down at St James’ Park until June 2023.

However, Bent believes Shelvey could benefit from a move this summer, suggesting he could be replaced if the prospective Newcastle takeover takes place.

Bent told Football Insider: “We all know already he’s got all the attributes and all the ability but for whatever reason, you’d have to say over the last couple of seasons he’s stuttered a little bit in his progress.

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“He’s someone who’s got a bit of bite about him but he’s also got the quality on the ball and he can run around. If you’re talking about someone like him and Declan Rice in the middle of the park, that’s not a bad combination, I quite like the sound of that.

“If they can go and get Jonjo, the Newcastle fans will be sad to see him go, I suspect, but at the same time, Newcastle might be shopping in a different shop if the takeover goes through.

“For him, maybe it’s best for him to get a move away from Newcastle and have a fresh start.” 

Shelvey, who was born and raised in east London, recently revealed to Sky Sports that he was raised a West Ham fan and that he owns a home next to the Irons’ training ground.

He has played 20 times for Steve Bruce at Newcastle this season and is the Magpies’ highest scorer with five goals to his name.

In other Newcastle United news, Bruce reaction revealed as PCP plot high-profile hire in takeover twist.