Alan Hutton has tipped Aston Villa to blow West Ham out the water to sign Jesse Lingard from Manchester United this summer.
The former Villa defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the lure of playing alongside Jack Grealish could also swing things his old side’s way.
As revealed by Football Insider last week, Villa are prepared to rival the Irons for Lingard when his loan spell ends this summer.
The 28-year-old has been in dazzling form in east London, chipping in with nine goals and four assists in 11 appearances.
Villa’s interest comes as Dean Smith sets sights on recruiting two new wide forwards to bolster his attack this summer.
While Lingard has primarily played centrally at West Ham, he also has the ability to operate on either flank.
Hutton admitted a top-four finish could give the Irons a “huge” edge in the transfer hunt.
However, he insisted Villa had the financial firepower and ambition to tempt Lingard to the Midlands.
Asked if he thought Villa could blow West Ham away to sign the Manchester United man, Hutton told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “I don’t see why not.
“I think a lot’s going to come down to where West Ham finish in the league. If they manage to get top four, obviously Champions League Football could be a huge factor.
“But look, Aston Villa are a huge club. They’re trying to move forward. I mean, we’ll have to wait and see what happens with Jack in the summer.
“I think if they manage to keep a hold of him, that will attract the likes of Jesse Lingard. He will want to play with someone like that.
“He’s back in the England squad, every team now wants him. He is playing with confidence. It’s going to be a good summer for him and it’s just down to what he’s done.
“He’s taken it on himself to go and put in top performances. He’s been absolutely standout so congratulations him.”