West Ham turn to Burnley flyer McNeil after Lingard hopes fade, as reporter claims ‘transfer mischief’ at play

Burnley winger Dwight McNeil

West Ham are rivalling Crystal Palace for the signing of Dwight McNeil, though a local reporter has claimed all is not what it seems.

The Hammers have tabled an offer to bring free agent Jesse Lingard on board. The ex-Man Utd winger will reportedly make a decision on his next club soon, though his sky high wage demands have put West Ham in a difficult position.

Lingard is understood to be seeking around £180,000-a-week. A salary on that scale has understandably left West Ham hesitant.

Surprisingly, however, it has opened the door to Nottingham Forest who aren’t as reluctant to smash their wage structure. Clearly, Steve Cooper’s side are willing to splash the cash upon their return to the Premier League.

If Lingard passes West Ham by, Burnley’s Dwight McNeil could be viable alternative.

Sky Sports report both the Hammers and Crystal Palace have approached Burnley regarding the 22-year-old.

The Clarets’ relegation has left them vulnerable in the market. Maxwel Cornet continues to draw links with the likes of Everton and Chelsea. Now it’s McNeil’s turn.

£15m will reportedly be enough to twist Burnley’s arm and the player is deemed keen to return to the top flight.

Burnley’s bargaining position isn’t entirely hopeless, however, with McNeil still having two years left on his contract. The club also have an option for an extra 12 months.

Local reporter dismisses McNeil claims

While Sky Sports are adamant the two London clubs have made approaches, a local Burnley reporter isn’t so sure.

Chris Boden, who is the sports editor on the Burnley Express, tweeted the McNeil speculation was a classic case of ‘transfer mischief’.

Boden tweeted Burnley are in fact not in talks ‘with anyone’ about McNeil.

That could still mean informal approaches have been made as can be the case before official negotiations between two clubs begin.

Alternatively, it may mean Sky’s report is wide of the mark and Burnley fans need not fear about McNeil’s future. Only time will tell.

Is he worth the money?

McNeil has featured in at least 36 Premier League matches in each of the past three seasons. In two of those campaigns he appeared in all 38 games.

His injury record is spotless and if signed, the buying club can rest assured McNeil will always be ready to contribute.

However, precisely what he’ll bring to the table is another matter entirely.

McNeil notched zero goals and just one assist in Burnley’s ill-fated campaign last season. His single-season high in each department is three goals and six assists.

He could be a valuable depth piece at West Ham with David Moyes’ men about to embark on another European campaign.

However, unlike Lingard he is unlikely to be a regular starter.