Manchester United are prepared to trade Jesse Lingard plus £45 million in cash in a bid to persuade Leicester to sell James Maddison.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is desperate to lure Leicester and England midfielder Maddison to Old Trafford as United look to begin the next stage of their re-building project.
And he’s prepared to sacrifice England star Lingard with the Norwegian boss believing Maddison possess the hunger and talent to make him a perfect fit for United’s future.
Lingard, 27, has failed to kick on at United and his poor form has seen him dumped by England boss Gareth Southgate this season.
The midfielder – valued at £40 million by United – hasn’t been involved in any of England’s last six matches since playing in the penalty shoot-out win against Switzerland in the uefa Nations League Finals in Portugal last summer.
Maddison, though, has been in red-hot form for Leicester – and has emerged as a major United target.
And although United accept it will be impossible to push Leicester to sell 23-year-old Maddison in the January window they are optimistic they can do a deal for the fiery Foxes playmaker in the summer.
United are prepared to almost TRIPLE Maddison’s current £55,000-a-week wage and put the former Coventry star on a whopping £150,000-a-week salary.
To match that Leicester would have to rip up their wage structure and make Maddison their highest paid player above top earner Jamie Vardy on £140,000-a-week and goalkeeper Kaspar Schmeichel on £130,000-a-week.
But the deal could depend on whether United can make it into the top four this season with Maddison desperate to add to his experience and play Champions League football.
Leicester are currently second in the Premier League fourteen points ahead of fifth-place United.
And they look a better bet to secure Champions League football with Soslkjaer’s men dogged by injury and inconsistency in the first half of the campaign.
That could tempt Maddison to say at the King Power Stadium for another year with Leicester, who bought him from Norwich in a £20 million deal 18 months ago, believed to be in negotiations with his advisors over a new deal.
But Rodgers knows it’s unlikely Leicester will be able to hold on to the star indefinitely if Maddison continues to develop – especially after seeing fellow Foxes and England star Harry Maguire join United in an £80 million deal last summer.