Man Utd are willing to let Jesse Lingard leave on a permanent transfer this summer, but West Ham's hopes of landing him are fading as the club look increasingly unlikely to qualify for next season's Champions League.
Lingard has been a revelation since joining the Irons on loan from Manchester United in the summer. Nine goals in his first ten Premier League appearances in east London had David Moyes' team looking good for a top four spot, but those hopes have all-but collapsed now after a costly dip in form.
West Ham have lost three of their last five league matches with Lingard unable to score or assist in four of them, and that has left them in seventh place, with four points to make up on Chelsea ahead of the penultimate round of fixtures.
It's understood that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not see Lingard as essential to his plans and a move to West Ham remains on the cards.
It has been reported elsewhere by The Athletic that with no Champions League football on the agenda, officials at West Ham no longer feel they are the frontrunner for Lingard's signature. They feel their only chance of signing him is if United decide to use him in a part-exchange deal for the likes of Declan Rice, who they have long held an interest in signing.
While Lingard is believed to be happy at the London Stadium, he has plenty interest from elsewhere after rediscovering his best form. Tottenham are one club who are watching him closely, though it could well depend where they finish in the Premier League - particularly if Champions League football is a dealbreaker for the England international.
It's possible, though not entirely likely, that his future could be tied to that of Harry Kane. It emerged on Monday that Tottenham are considering replacements for their talisman this summer, and if United decide to move in for Kane, then Lingard could be used as a pawn in order to keep the cost down.
Speaking about Lingard's fate after West Ham's draw with Brighton, manager Moyes said: “I'm not actually sure how realistic it is [signing him permanently].
"Obviously, I think Jesse has enjoyed himself, I hope he has, we have enjoyed having him. He is Manchester United’s player, so they can decide what to do with him. If they want to let him go, let’s hope he would consider us as one of his options.”