Jesse Lingard is plotting his own transfer destiny away from Manchester United after a damning report revealed the full extent of his frustrations over the last four months.
After a sparkling loan spell with West Ham last year, Lingard was expected to be given time to shine at parent club Manchester United. Indeed, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s insistence on keeping the revitalised winger around despite a Hammers bid in the summer was a good sign for those wanting to see him succeed at Old Trafford.
But four months on, his return to United has failed to ignite. The 28-year-old has been afforded a paltry 154 minutes of action across all competitions. 72 minutes of that came in the EFL Cup as Solskjaer rotated his squad.
Predictably, his lack of action prompted renewed speculation Lingard would part ways with United once again. His contract expires next summer. That means both a cut-price January sale or a free agent move next year are possibilities.
For their part, United remained hopeful of convincing Lingard to pen fresh terms. However, a damning report from the Daily Telegraph has revealed Lingard has laid waste to the club’s hopes on that front.
They state talks over a new contract have ‘collapsed’. Furthermore, it’s noted he is unlikely to change his mind and appears determined to sever ties.
He is reportedly considering asking the club to sanction a loan deal in January and his representatives are understood to have already held talks with a Spanish suitor. Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Serie A side AC Milan are all in the mix. Whether West Ham will try their luck with Lingard a second time is as yet unknown.
Fuelling Lingard’s frustration are a series of United missteps over the past four months.
Firstly, he was reportedly left miffed at being overlooked in favour of Daniel James in the opening two matches of the season. That came at a time when James was heavily linked with an exit and duly joined Leeds United before the window closed.
Furthermore, the first contract offer Man Utd tabled to Lingard was reportedly lower than his current salary. Lingard is thus stated to have been left ‘bemused’ by United’s approach to discussions.
Adding to his dismay is predictably, his lack of regular game-time.
That occurred despite those ahead of him in Solskjaer’s pecking order struggling – such as Jadon Sancho. With England’s place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar secured, Lingard is fearful his lack of minutes will see him miss out for his country.
All that combined has resulted in the forward putting an end to contract talks. An exit – in January or the summer – now seems inevitable.
Solskjaer tipped to spring surprise v Watford
Meanwhile, Solskjaer could spring a surprise selection when Man Utd face Watford on Saturday after being ‘impressed’ with what he’s seen in training during the international break, according to a report.
Pressure has ramped up on the Norwegian in recent weeks. But while Solskjaer remains in charge, his sole focus will be on the next match ahead. And according to the Mirror, Solskjaer could spring a surprise in his starting eleven for Saturday’s clash with Watford.
They state wantaway midfielder Donny Van de Beek could be in line for his first league start of the season. The Dutchman has reportedly ‘impressed’ Solskjaer and his coaching staff during the week in training.
As a result, Van de Beek is ‘in the frame’ to start the contest at the expense of either Scott McTominay or Fred. Paul Pogba will serve the final match of his suspension following his red card against Liverpool.
Should the midfielder be selected from the off, it will be his first league start of the season. And judging from the sarcastic cheers his cameo appearance from the bench received against City, United fans will be on board if Solskjaer makes the call.
Many Red Devils players may also be glad to see Van de Beek start if the Daily Mail’s report last week is to be believed. His lack of gametime – along with Jesse Lingard – was stated to be a source of consternation within the playing ranks.