Exclusive – Manchester United are willing to offer any of Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Phil Jones to West Ham United in an attempt sweeten a potential deal for midfielder Declan Rice.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has long been keen on Rice but declined to pull the trigger on a bid last summer, when West Ham were seeking closer to the £70m mark, but the player’s representatives now think that deal could be done at around £50m.
That news has attracted both Liverpool and Manchester City, while long-term admirers Chelsea remain keen, but sources have confirmed to 90min that United are keen to steal a march on their rivals by offering up some players in exchange.
Of the players on offer, West Ham are likely to be most intrigued by Lingard, who is currently on loan at the London Stadium and has impressed with a return of three goals and an assist in his first four games.
United value Lingard, Matic and Jones at a combined £30m, so they are prepared to offer some money up front as well to meet West Ham’s asking price.
The Hammers are open to the idea of taking on players as part of the deal, although there are concerns over the kind of wages they may inherit. Lingard takes home £100,000-a-week at Old Trafford, while both Matic and Jones earn similar figures as well.
To try and sweeten the deal, United may have to cover some of their wages for at least 12 months, with West Ham reluctant to take on too much extra salary this summer.
United see Rice as a holding midfielder but also value his ability to fill in at centre-back. They hope to sign two new central defenders this summer, but landing Rice may plug two holes with one peg.
The 22-year-old is understood to be ready to make the move this summer, but a front-runner is yet to emerge. Chelsea were leading the race before Frank Lampard’s departure, though their interest has cooled since.
However, the Blues still remain interested, while both Liverpool and City are contemplating moves for Rice.