Peter Crouch believes it would be logical for Manchester United to use Jesse Lingard in a part-exchange deal to sign West Ham midfielder Declan Rice in the summer transfer window.
Lingard has made an immediate impact since joining the Hammers on loan in January, scoring three goals in four appearances.
The 28-year-old scored the winning goal against rivals Tottenham at the London Stadium on Saturday, moving David Moyes’ side to fourth in the Premier League table.
But it is unlikely that Lingard has a long-term future at Old Trafford and Moyes could look to make his loan deal permanent if his impressive form continues until the end of the season.
Rice, meanwhile, has been a key part of West Ham’s unlikely rise to the Champions League places, starting in every league game so far in this campaign.
The England international, 22, has been linked with United and Chelsea in the past and former Liverpool striker Crouch believes he is the kind of player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should look to sign.
Crouch was asked by a supporter in his Daily Mail column about the possibility of a Lingard and Rice part-exchange deal.
“I love Declan Rice,” Crouch said.
“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.
“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 has focused his rebuild around young British talent and a defensive midfielder could be targeted in the summer window with Paul Pogba’s future uncertain and Nemanja Matic turning 33 in August.
Rice could be a desirable option for United but he is likely to only be sold at an astronomical price.
United’s requirement for a central defender has also been highlighted in recent weeks and a long-term partner for captain Harry Maguire should be prioritised.