Jesse Lingard gets tempting new transfer option as Man Utd staff 'dreading' departure
Lingard came to life in east London and played his way back into the international fold off the back of his performances for the Hammers, but his career has since nose-dived yet again back at United.
It is thought that the wide-midfielder received assurances from then-Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he would earn more playing time back at his boyhood club but that promise failed to materialise.
As a result, Tottenham have thrown their hat in the ring as one of a number of potential suitors Lingard could explore in the coming weeks before the window's close.
Tottenham are thought to be willing to wait until the summer before trying to complete the deal, by which time Lingard will be out of contract at Old Trafford.
Conte is rumoured to be a fan of Lingard's versatility when playing across the front-line and his ability to operate on either flank places him high up on the Italian's transfer wish-list for his first window at the helm.
Spurs are also reportedly preparing to cut ties with a wide forward of their own in Dutchman Steven Bergwijn, potentially freeing up space for Lingard.
The Netherlands international is thought to be attracting interest from a number of clubs in his home country, including Eredivisie giants Ajax.
Erik ten Hag's side have reportedly lodged a bid of around £15m that Spurs have swiftly rejected, with club chairman Daniel Levy and co. deeming that figure below what they currently value the winger at.
Bergwijn has been in north London less than two years and still has another three-and-a-half years left to run on his current Spurs deal which could potentially explain why the Tottenham hierarchy are holding out for a larger fee.
Meanwhile, question marks remain as to whether United would be willing to sell Lingard to a direct rival for the coveted fourth-spot in the league table.
There is reportedly some reluctance over Lingard's exit from United regardless of where he ends up from coaching staff at Carrington, who are huge fans of the 29-year-old.
The Manchester Evening News report that Lingard remains a very popular figure among the current crop of United backroom staff who are 'dreading' his departure from the club.
It is a damning indictment of United's off-field operations that an academy graduate as talented as Lingard is likely to walk away from the club for nothing.
Given Lingard is nearing 30, he is likely to have one final big contract at a big-six standard club and Spurs could be viewed as a viable option for a man seemingly surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.