Exclusive – West Ham manager David Moyes is interested in reuniting with Ross Barkley, should the club be unable to secure a return to the London Stadium for Jesse Lingard.
The 27-year-old spent last season on loan at Aston Villa and was impressive for large parts of his stay in the Midlands, but off-field activities meant the club decided against signing Barkley on a permanent basis.
Now back at Stamford Bridge, Barkley is one of a number of players who have been told they can move on, owing to the incredible strength in depth in Thomas Tuchel’s squad.
90min understands that re-signing Lingard – who enjoyed a superb loan spell at West Ham last season, scoring nine times in 16 games – remains a priority for the Hammers, but a return to east London is looking increasingly unlikely.
Any deal with Manchester United would have to be permanent this time around, and although that’s something West Ham are keen to explore, they will not overpay for Lingard and risk being unable to strengthen other areas of their squad.
There is also rival interest in Lingard from Atletico Madrid, with remaining at United also an option after manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer indicated he is welcome to stay at the club and fight for his place. The offer of a new contract at Old Trafford has even been mooted.
That’s led West Ham to hold conversations with Chelsea about Barkley, while there is also dialogue between the two clubs over striker Tammy Abraham.
Barkley broke through at Everton under the stewardship of Moyes little more than decade ago, and the Scot remains a big fan of the attacking midfielder. A loan move is something Chelsea are prepared to sanction – though the Blues would have to subsidise a portion of Barkley’s hefty wages – but they are keen to sell Abraham after he rejected terms on a new contract offer.
One potential stumbling block is rival interest in Barkley from former club Everton and Newcastle, but he may jump at the opportunity to reunite with Moyes at West Ham, particularly as Europa League football would be on offer.
As for Declan Rice, 90min has been told that Chelsea have kept in constant contact over his availability – but the Hammers remain determined to keep the England man for at least another season.