Newcastle Knights veteran half Mitchell Pearce is anything but a sure thing to stay in the Hunter in 2022.

As the Knights look for the missing link to move them from a bottom of the eight team to something more, Pearce's future has come under increasing speculation and pressure.

While it's almost certain Pearce won't remain in Newcastle following the end of his current deal, talk continues that he will be moved on ahead of 2022.

Coach Adam O'Brien is rumoured to want to move Kalyn Ponga into the halves with Tex Hoy in the squad, while youngsters Pheonix Crossland and Simi Sasagi are also in the squad and pushing for first grade time in the halves alongside mid-season acquisition Jake Clifford.

The Knights' attack was a major problem area for the club this season, finishing the regular season with the second-worst record overall, despite their eventual seventh-placed finish.

That is offset by injuries, with Ponga and Pearce both spending substantial time on the sidelines.

NRL Elimination Final - Rabbitohs v Knights
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 04: Kalyn Ponga of the Knight looks on during the NRL Elimination Final match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Newcastle Knights at ANZ Stadium on October 04, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Pearce has been heavily linked with both the Canterbury Bulldogs and Canberra Raiders should he wish to stay in the NRL, however, he has also been linked overseas with the Catalans Dragons.

And now, The Sydney Morning Herald are reporting that former teammate at both club and representative level James Maloney is set to play a role in attempting to bring Pearce to France.

The former NRL veteran was a startling success in the French team, and while he has announced his intention to retire from the game professionally and drop down to the domestic second-tier French competition, Pearce could head to France knowing he has support.

Pearce has played more than 300 NRL games and has little left to achieve in Australia, however, he has previously reportedly stated his intentions to finish his career in Sydney, meaning there would likely need to be a compelling reason for him to explore an overseas option.

Pearce is off-contract at the Knights at the end of 2022.