JESSE Lingard's potential move to West Ham in January has moved one step nearer after David Moyes admitted he needs to strengthen his attacking options.
Said Benrahma will miss most of January on Africa Cup of Nations duty to increase the pressure on the London club’s limited options going forward.
Moyes wants to bring in a player who can play both out wide and centrally to increase the potency of his Hammers front line – and Manchester United ace Lingard is an exact fit of the profile of player he is looking for.
The West Ham boss refuses to even discuss bringing the England star back to the London Stadium while he is contracted to United, but with Lingard becoming a free agent in the summer a January deal could be available.
Moyes said: “Maybe we can add to the front line in some way possible which might give us other alternatives as well.
“Said can play a couple of roles, he plays as a ten or off the left and we can decide on the day how we use him.
“I think you have to buy the right players then you might need players who need time to settle in.
“So of course we'd like to strengthen and of course, we want you to keep improving and challenge the teams at the top.”
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Moyes has struggled to find an out and out striker available who would fit the bill of providing extra options to lone striker Michail Antonio.
But while Lingard was on loan last season he spoke openly about how the United star is flexible enough to play several roles and be an added threat in attack.
Given his desire to only bring in someone who he can trust to hit the ground running, there are few options available than trying to tempt the 28-year-old back to the club on a permanent basis.
Lingard is desperate to fight for a place in Gareth Southgate’s England star for the World Cup next year and knows he needs regular football to even stand a chance.
That isn’t happening at Old Trafford so getting out in January is the only option – but that depends on United’s desire to make a deal happen.
A loan until the end of the season would suit Lingard and West Ham, but United would then give up the chance of netting any fee for him before his contract runs out.
The other potential stumbling block is that West Ham are now direct competitors with United for Champions League qualification, so there may be a reluctance to strengthen their resources.
Should the Hammers fail to persuade United to do a deal, then Moyes says he will have to turn to Nikola Vlasic to cover for the absence of Benrahma while he is on duty with Algeria.
Moyes added: “Nicky is quite similar, he can do those roles.
“I am hoping that if we don't get anybody then Nicky is there as a replacement and also the form of Lanzini is showing signs that he can do several roles as well. We'll need to be flexible with what we've got.”
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