West Ham in for Ljungberg as Arsenal line up Dutch star

West Ham United last night made an audacious bid to sign Arsenal's Fredrik Ljungberg. No fee has been discussed so far for the 29-year-old Swedish international, although Arsenal do appear prepared to sell him and West Ham have the funds available.

Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, has lined up Ajax's Dutch international left winger Ryan Babel as Ljungberg's replacement. The 20-year-old is keen to join Arsenal although no deal will be done before the end of the season as Wenger wants to look at other targets. Babel was recently described by the Netherlands coach, Marco van Basten, as having the potential to be the "new Thierry Henry".

If West Ham sign Ljungberg, they will shelve their interest in Shaun Wright-Phillips, who remains reluctant to move to Upton Park despite a £10m bid being lodged, with the winger also offered the same £50,000-a-week wages he earns at Chelsea. Indeed, it is thought that the bid is now close to collapse.

West Ham are confident that they will also be able to match Ljungberg's personal terms - which means he could earn an astonishing £70,000 a week - but although the midfielder is keen to stay in the Premiership, they are unsure if he will want to join a relegation-threatened club.

It is likely that Ljungberg, who is now captain of the Swedish national team, may insist on an exit clause should West Ham be relegated. West Ham could also try to revive Arsenal's interest in their midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker, who wants to leave the club after a traumatic season, and offer him in a possible swap deal.

Wenger was interested in signing Reo-Coker last summer as was Sir Alex Ferguson. It is thought that he has cooled on the player since but is still looking for young central midfield talent which would raise question marks over the future of Gilberto Silva as well as Ljungberg. Arsenal have also, in the past, shown interest in Yossi Benayoun although West Ham are adamant they want to recruit players not sell them.

Ljungberg, who has two years left on his contract at the Emirates Stadium, joined Arsenal in 1998 for £3m from the Swedish club Halmstad and has been a key member of Wenger's squad. However, the signings of Alexander Hleb and Tomas Rosicky have limited his opportunities this season and, although he had a fine Champions' League campaign last season, it is believed he is not central to Wenger's plans.

If West Ham manage to sign Ljungberg, it would represent a huge coup. They also believe it will help them in their attempts to secure their other transfer targets.

West Ham's potential bid for Ljungberg once again shows the determination and ambition of the Icelandic consortium which took control of the club last autumn. The chairman, Eggert Magnusson, promised that money would be spent in the transfer window and West Ham have been busy lining up a number of targets. They have already signed Luis Boa Morte from Fulham for £5m and last night completed a move for West Bromwich Albion midfielder Nigel Quashie. The 28-year-old Scottish international has joined on a three-and-a-half-year deal for an initial £1.5m with a further £250,000 payable if West Ham avoid relegation. He may start against Fulham on Saturday.

West Ham are also in the hunt for Alexei Smertin, who is set to leave Dynamo Moscow. They also want Bolton Wanderers defender Talal Ben Haim, although his advisers may still try to secure a move to Chelsea, and they have not given up hope of signing Middlesbrough's Mark Viduka.

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Strange 'quack' noises could be undersea chatter of Minke whales
science
Voices
voices Furore is yet another example of shameful Westminster evasion, says Nigel Farage
News
weird news... and film it, obviously
News
peopleThis time as he’s awarded the Freedom of Stirling and handed an honorary degree
Arts & Entertainment
tv
Sport
sport
News
Matthew Mcnulty and Jessica Brown Findlay in 'Jamaica Inn'
mediaHundreds complain over dialogue levels in period drama
Voices
voicesMoyes' tragedy is one the Deputy PM understands all too well, says Matthew Norman
News
peopleJay Z and Beyoncé to buy £5.5m London townhouse
Voices
voicesMoyes' tragedy is one the Deputy PM understands all too well, says Matthew Norman
Arts & Entertainment
Rocker of ages: Chuck Berry
musicWhy do musicians play into old age?
News
Jilly's jewels: gardener Alan Titchmarsh
peopleCountry Life magazine's list of 'gallant' public figures throws light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Sport
John Terry goes down injured in the 70th minute
sportAtletico Madrid 0 Chelsea 0: Blues can finish the job at Stamford Bridge, but injuries to Terry and Cech are a concern for Mourinho
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

Migrants in Britain a decade on

They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled
Sam Wallace: Why Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term

Sam Wallace

Why Ryan Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term
Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Having smashed Sergei Bubka's 21-year-old record, the French phenomenon tells Simon Turnbull he can go higher
Through the screen: British Pathé opens its archives

Through the screen

British Pathé opens its archives
The man behind the papier mâché mask

Frank Sidebottom

The man behind the papier mâché mask
Chris Marker: Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Chris Marker retrospective is a revelation
Boston runs again: Thousands take to the streets for marathon as city honours dead and injured of last year's bombing

Boston runs again

Thousands of runners take to the streets as city honours dead of last year
40 years of fostering and still holding the babies (and with no plans to retire)

40 years of fostering and holding the babies

In their seventies and still working as specialist foster parents