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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future