The decision of Jesse Lingard to remain at Manchester United beyond the January transfer window is final, with one pundit lifting the lid on the player’s thinking.
Following a stellar loan spell with West Ham, hopes were high Manchester United fans would finally see his mesmeric best at Old Trafford this season. However, under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, minutes on the pitch have been in desperately short supply.
Indeed, Lingard has accrued just 87 minutes of action across eight league appearances this term. The nature of those extremely short cameos suggests he does not hold the faith of those making the decisions.
As such, and with his contract expiring next summer, talk of a January exit had kicked up.
Indeed, reports claim United are seeking around £20m for his signature next month.
That has, in turn, led to suggestions that West Ham were plotting a fresh assault to bring Lingard back to the London Stadium. There’s also talk that Newcastle could be in the mix, while interest from abroad comes from AC Milan.
However, reports earlier this week claim Lingard has indeed opted to remain at United through to next summer. That will see his contract expire and the player able to walk away as a free agent. Given the lack of playing time from him, maybe United regret not cashing in last summer when West Ham came calling.
Running down his deal
And while Lingard was willing to make the move last summer, it seems he has a very different stance in January.
Seemingly following suit to Paul Pogba, Lingard plans to “run down his deal” in order to “maximise” his signing-on fee and wages next summer.
And now 29, pundit Alan Hutton reckons Lingard is looking for one last pay day at the age of 29.
“The loan move to West Ham got him back out there on the pitch, and back in that England squad,” he told Football Insider.
Lingard garnering more interest
West Ham aren't the only team interested in signing Lingard.
“Now that he’s 29, he’ll be looking for that last big contract. It doesn’t really surprise me that he’s wanting to run that contract down at Man United. There will be teams desperate to get him in the summer.
“With no fee involved in the summer, he and his agent can maximise that signing-on fee or his wages, or whatever. I get why he’s doing it, but the Man United fans and board won’t be happy.
“They’re losing a valuable player for free, so that won’t go down too well. But as an ex-footballer, I understand why he’s doing it.”
Moyes seems accepting of Jesse Lingard decision
For his part, Lingard has offered very little comment about his future.
One man though who does seem upset by his lack of game time is Hammers boss David Moyes, who appears to have accepted a January move looks unlikely.
“I can’t really talk about him because he’s a Manchester United player and it’s not for me to talk,” Moyes said earlier this month.
“But he was really good for us. Jesse knows what we all think of him here. My disappointment for Jesse would be, I think he’s such a talented football player and he’s not playing.
“He played a big part in our second half of last season. But you’d have to give credit to the players here, they’ve moved on without Jesse Lingard,” Moyes added.
“People might have thought Jesse made a difference here. But the players have moved on and stepped to another level themselves. But I’ve got to say, Jesse was a big part of that.”