Reports have suggested that Manchester United want to use Jesse Lingard as a makeweight for Declan Rice, but this could easily send West Ham into a downwards spiral. 

After a series of impressive performances from on-loan midfielder Jesse Lingard, Manchester United have put a £20m price tag on his head for this summer’s transfer window, according to Eurosport.

West Ham were apparently interested in signing him permanently in January but had to settle for a short-term loan deal when a £15m offer was rejected.

However, Eurosport claim that United could use Lingard as bait to lure West Ham on-field captain and fan favourite Declan Rice to Manchester.

Rice has attracted interest from some of the Premier League’s top clubs in the last couple of years for his outstanding performances in a claret and blue shirt.

Chelsea and Man United have both been keen previously and now it seems that the Red Devils are stepping up their interest for the 21-year-old defensive midfielder.

Jesse Lingard form

Since arriving in late January, Lingard has been amazing for West Ham – scoring three goals and producing one assist in five games.

If the reports are accurate Lingard will be available for £20m in the summer, which would be a great deal for the Hammers to take advantage of.

Despite being 28-years-old, Lingard still has a lot to give. He is playing with a lot of hunger and fire right now and his playing abilities are helping the team open up and attack more freely.

If he continues to play the way he has been, then David Moyes shouldn’t even have to consider paying £20m for him. The England international has fitted into the team perfectly and could be a valuable asset going forward.

That being said, a deal would only be worthwhile if it was just left as that. A counter transfer involving Declan Rice should not be on the table, even if that means we don’t end up signing Jesse Lingard.

Rice is first priority

Despite Lingard’s good run of form, Declan Rice’s contribution to the team is incomparable. Arguably, he is the best player at the club right now, which means Rice should be the club’s number one priority this summer.

He leads the team in interceptions (1.9 per game) and passing accuracy (87.5%) and is second in tackles (1.9 per game) this season (WhoScored). He also has the second-highest amount of interceptions in the entire Premier League in this campaign.

If Man United were considering a swap deal plus cash for Declan Rice, it would have to be a hefty figure for the club to be persuaded. On his own, West Ham have apparently valued him at £100m, which shows the club is not willing to let him leave easily.

Lingard has been an excellent addition to the squad, but if signing him permanently means that Rice will leave then the club shouldn’t even consider the purchase.

Rice is our most valuable player and a figure of £60-80m plus Lingard would be much more acceptable. Rice is almost irreplaceable within this team at the moment and for a 22-year-old he has a big and bright future ahead of him.

West Ham need to do everything in their power to keep him at the club if we want to strive for Europe beyond the current campaign. If we can keep Declan Rice, sign Lingard and add a striker, then you’d be able to say we’ve had a successful summer transfer window.