Aston Villa will need to prove their ambition to Jesse Lingard to beat West Ham to his capture from Manchester United this summer.
That is according to former Leeds striker Noel Whelan who, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested money alone would not be enough to tempt the 28-year-old to Villa Park.
As revealed by Football Insider, Villa are prepared to battle West Ham for Lingard’s signing this summer after his dazzling loan spell with the Irons.
He has reignited his career since January, having fallen down the pecking order at Manchester United.
He has netted nine goals and chipped in with four assists so far.
His resurgence even earned him a return to the England squad ahead of this summer’s Euros.
He has one more year left on his contract at Old Trafford.
Whelan suggested Lingard’s contract demands will have risen significantly thanks to his return to form.
However, he insisted Villa, or any other suitor, would need to prove their ambition to seal his capture.
Asked how Villa could tempt Lingard to sign for them ahead of the Irons, Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Money, playing with certain players, signings. Look into the future, what they’re looking to bring in and challenge for.
“He’s put himself in a fantastic position for a move in the summer. He’s only got a year left on his contract. I’ll be very surprised if most clubs in the Premier League and even Europe aren’t looking at him right now with the way he is playing.
“They’ve already got a great squad there at Aston Villa, let’s not be silly about this. They still play great football even without Grealish.
“He could be the difference to a lot of sides. He’d bring a lot of points on the board throughout the season. His style of play, that direct nature, his link-up play, assists, he brings loads to the party.
“He seems to be in a really good place right now. Back in the Euro squad as well, probably, so that adds a bit more onto his demands.”