David Moyes’ insistence that West Ham have “moved on” from Jesse Lingard may be a simple smokescreen after a report insisted a deal for the Manchester United winger is very much on.
Lingard’s future came back into focus on Thursday. A Telegraph article highlighted a series of perceived missteps both Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had made in their handling of Lingard.
The 28-year-old has rarely featured this term despite producing the form of his life while on loan with the Hammers last season.
That was just one of a number of issues Lingard reportedly has with the Red Devils. A lowball contract offer was also detailed, along with his bemusement over one specific player being selected ahead of him.
Interest then emerged from Europe with Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and AC Milan all linked with a January loan deal.
West Ham’s position on bringing Lingard back on board was unknown despite seeing a permanent bid rebuffed in the summer.
And Moyes’ comments on Friday suggested the Hammers wouldn’t be involved in any transfer scramble.
“He is a Manchester United player and I am not going to talk about players at other clubs. We enjoyed having Jesse and he made a great contribution to the team but we have moved on,” he said via football.london.
However, a report from the Sun has suggested the Scot’s comments are masking West Ham’s true intentions.
They state Lingard ‘looks to be on his way to West Ham in the new year’. On the agenda is reportedly a ‘£10m’ transfer. Given his sparkling form last season, such a small fee would represent a bargain for the Londoners.
Adding further weight to the story is their claim the player himself has mobilised to drive the move. Lingard is claimed to have ‘already begun making personal arrangements for his permanent move’ back to West Ham.
Lingard then stoked the fires further by reposting a video of him scoring for West Ham on his Instagram story.
Solskjaer plan could prompt Lingard U-Turn?
Meanwhile, Solskjaer has extended the olive branch to Lingard in a move that suggests he retains hope the winger will stick around.
Speaking in his Friday press conference (via the Manchester Evening News), Solskjaer addressed the brewing situation.
While he distanced himself from Lingard’s contract complaints, he did double down on his earlier promise to increase his minutes on the pitch.
“Jesse is training really hard, really well and he’s ready and available for me,” said Solskjaer. “[Lingard is] disappointed he’s not playing more.
“In regards to contract situations and talks, I’ve not been in them very closely. For me, Jesse is still a big part of this squad and important and he gives quality to the group every day. Every player wants to play as much as possible, with Jesse and all my players.
“They’re working really hard, I can’t fault the attitude when they’re called upon. Jesse has done well when he’s played for us and with the games coming up he’s going to play a part.”