Manchester United could push ahead with a swap deal for Declan Rice if West Ham advance their interest in Jesse Lingard, claims a report.
Lingard spent a successfully loan spell with the Hammers last season. His nine goals and five assists for the London outfit catapulted him back into the England squad and he was unlucky to miss out on a place at Euro 2020.
Lingard returned to United in the summer and he has been a major part of United’s team in pre-season. But he was left out of the matchday squad against Leeds and managed just four minutes in the draw with Southampton on Sunday.
West Ham were keen to seal a permanent deal for the 28-year-old, but his value rocketed after his impact at the London Stadium.
David Moyes was unable to agree a deal with United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer integrated Lingard back into his squad.
And speaking ahead of the weekend, Solskjaer insisted that Lingard was in his plans for the current campaign.
“I think Jesse’s first priority is to get into our team,” said Solskjaer. “I think whenever your employer is Man United, I think that’s your first priority and always is.
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“We, together, can have great moments. Of course, as a manager, with players in a squad like I’ve got now, it’s difficult. It’s difficult to say that ‘this weekend you’re not playing’.
“Of course, I have to leave players out, never mind from the starting XI but from the squad. But they all have to remember and know they’re going to have to play a part if we’re going to be successful.
“Jesse is back to his fitness. He played really well in the behind-closed-doors game on Tuesday and he’s come back bubbly and in good shape. He’s got a big part to play.”
Declan Rice interest
However, they are not alone because long-time suitors Chelsea are also keen, as well as champions Manchester City.
The paper claimed Rice is unhappy at his £100m transfer valuation and is prepared to run down his contract so he can play in the Champions League.
Rice is also reported to have turned down the offer of a new contract. But with his deal running until 2024 and including a one-year option, the Hammers are not in panic mode.
And the Daily Mirror suggest any move from West Ham for Lingard will prompt a counter-enquiry from United for Rice.
The paper claims Rice could “be the final piece in the jigsaw for United”. United would pursue a deal for the player if his value was £60m rather that the prohibitive £100m, according to the report.
Lingard moving in the opposite direction would offset that fee. United though would still have to make a sizeable bid to get Rice to Old Trafford.