Peter Crouch believes it ‘makes sense’ for Manchester United to use Jesse Lingard in a part-exchange deal to sign Chelsea’s top midfield target this summer.
Lingard has scored three times in four appearances for West Ham since he completed a loan move in January.
The midfielder found himself completely out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. However, his switch to east London has given him a new lease of life.
United have so far shown no signs of wanting to part company with the England man on a permanent basis.
However, former Liverpool striker Crouch believes some form of a swap deal for £80million Chelsea target Declan Rice should be in the offing.
The Red Devils have shown plenty of interest in Rice themselves over the past year. Chelsea’s interest, meanwhile, mainly stemmed from Frank Lampard’s admiration for the player.
But with Lampard gone, it’s unclear whether new Blues boss Thomas Tuchel holds Rice in the same regard.
That could leave the door open for United to swoop, and in Lingard they have the perfect bargaining tool.
It is well reported that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen on signing a new defensive midfielder, and Crouch thinks Rice is perfect.
Rice made for a top club
“I love Declan Rice,” Crouch told his Daily Mail column. “I have got a few friends who are West Ham fans and they want the club to break the bank, make him club captain and do all that it takes to keep him there for the next 15 years.
“He’s a brilliant player and could play for any of the top sides.
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“‘Your suggestion makes sense for United. Lingard needs to get away as his time at Old Trafford is up, while Rice is the kind of player United need to add.
“Would West Ham do that deal? I’m not so sure. We’ll see what happens.”
Solskjaer is expected to be handed a transfer budget of around £150million this summer, if United seal a Champions League spot.
However, buying Rice in a straight cash deal would eat up half that amount – making a Lingard, plus cash deal a viable option.
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