Manchester United will explore signing West Ham star Declan Rice as part of negotiations for Jesse Lingard, reports say. Both players have been in fine form for the Hammers this season. And that’s given David Moyes’ side a genuine chance of finishing in the Premier League top four.
Manchester United loaned Lingard to West Ham in January after the midfielder had fallen down Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s pecking order.
However, the England international has been reborn over at the London Stadium – scoring six goals and registering two assists so far.
West Ham want to sign Lingard on a permanent basis as a result but, now, The Athletic say there’s been a blockbuster twist.
United will, reportedly, explore a potential deal to sign Rice as part of any negotiations for the 28-year-old.
The England international has been in terrific form himself this season, oozing class in the heart of Moyes’ midfield.
And United have now sensed an opportunity, though how things play out remains to be seen.
THINK YOU KNOW SPORT? Test your sporting knowledge with our tricky quiz
Talks with the London side haven’t started yet but the Red Devils could demand higher than £25million for Lingard as a result of his fine performances this term.
Furthermore, West Ham aren’t the only club interested in signing the playmaker at the end of the campaign.
Newcastle, Wolves and French club Marseille were all in the mix for Lingard in January and could revive their interest this summer.
And United coaches think the 28-year-old is back to his best because West Ham have given him a level of responsibility, a guarantee of games and the licence to try things on the pitch.
How the saga plays out will be fascinating to see.
But Rice would be a good signing for United, one that could help drive the partnership between Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes onto new heights.
Alex Telles ‘to be used in Man Utd swap deal’
Chelsea may have signed perfect Haaland partner
Lionel Messi’s Barcelona anger explained
Meanwhile, speaking last month, Moyes expressed a belief that Rice is worth more than £100m at the current moment in time.
“I don’t agree with the owners that Declan Rice is a £100m footballer. Far, far more than £100m. Far, far more,” said the Scot.
“I look at the players who have joined some clubs from overseas and come in and nowhere near had the impact Declan Rice would have.
“I certainly wouldn’t put a price on it. You can decide which figure you want to put on it but I wouldn’t be sanctioning anything like that, that’s for sure.”
Moyes also played down talk that West Ham would need Champions League football to keep Rice at the London Stadium.
He added: “Do we need the Champions League to keep Declan? No, because Declan is under contract first and foremost, so he can’t go anywhere no matter what, and I keep saying it and I hope people know that when I say something, I mean it.
“We’ve not had an offer for Declan Rice and I hope we don’t get one.
“And you’ve got an idea now of where we’d need to be if it was even going to be considered, certainly be me.
“If we could finish in Europe, in some sort of European position, I think it would be progress.
“And that would be progress for Declan Rice as well because he’s been at West Ham while they’ve been bobbing around the bottom, so this is new for Declan as well.
“Declan seems very settled and in fact he is captaining West Ham, he plays for England, and I want to keep Declan thinking that his ambitions can be achieved here at West Ham and I will have to keep pushing that and keep pushing that with the owners as well.
“For me, I have watched the prices of some players who have gone to clubs recently and they could not lace Declan Rice’s boots.”
Rice isn’t United’s only target ahead of the summer transfer window.
The Red Devils are also big admirers of Jules Kounde, Raphael Varane and Ben White as they chase a centre-back to go alongside Harry Maguire.
And, up top, Erling Haaland is under consideration – especially with Edinson Cavani potentially leaving.