Exclusive – West Ham boss David Moyes is interested in reuniting with Ross Barkley if the club can not secure a return to London Stadium for Jesse Lingard.
The 27-year-old spent last season on loan at Aston Villa and was impressive during much of his stay in the Midlands, but off-field activities meant the club decided not to sign 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 due to the incredible strength in the depths of Thomas Tuchel’s squad.
Abraham and Barkley are West Ham goals / TIM KEETON / Getty Images
90min understands that reconsideration of Lingard – who enjoyed a fantastic loan spell at West Ham last season and made nine appearances in 16 games – is still a priority for the Hammers, but a return to East London looks increasingly unlikely.
Every deal with Manchester United must be permanent this time around, and even if there is something West Ham are keen to explore, they will not pay too much for Lingard and risk not being able to strengthen other parts of their squad.
There is also rival interest in Lingard from Atletico Madrid, with staying at United also an option after manager Ole Gunnar Solskjär has announced that 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 dropped.
This led to West Ham having talks with Chelsea about Barkley, while there is also a dialogue between the two clubs about striker Tammy Abraham.
Barkley broke through at Everton under Moyes a little more than a decade ago, and the forward is still a big fan of the attacking midfielder. A loan move is something that Chelsea are prepared to sanction – even if the Blues would have to subsidize part of Barkley’s substantial salaries – but they are keen to sell Abraham after he rejected the terms of a new contract.
A potential stumble is rival interest for Barkley from the former club Everton and Newcastle, but he may skip the possibility of reuniting with Moyes at West Ham, especially since Europa League football would be offered.
As for Declan Rice, 90 minutes have been told that Chelsea have been in constant contact over his availability – but the Hammers are still determined to keep the Englishman for at least another season.