Jesse Lingard has reportedly rejected a new contract offer at Manchester United, as he seeks firm assurances about his first-team prospects at Old Trafford.
The England attacker has entered the final year of his deal and has been offered fresh terms to extend his stay with the Red Devils. However, the 28-year-old has rebuffed United’s initial approach and is keen to ensure he will get the opportunity to play regularly before making a decision about his future.
But ESPN sources that if nothing is agreed then Lingard will be able to leave on a free at the end of the season. He will also be free to start talks with clubs from outside of England from January.
Lingard, who has made over 200 appearances for the Red Devils, wants to be playing regularly to keep his place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The attacking midfielder missed the cut for the Euros, despite starring on loan at West Ham. However, he was back on the scoresheet for the Three Lions with a brace in the 4-0 win over Andorra on Sunday.
Lingard has struggled for opportunities under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford. But he did show his talents when scoring nine times in his loan stint at the Hammers. He also won the Premier League Player of the Month and Premier League Goal of the Month awards for April.
Man Utd refused to let Lingard leave
There was plenty of interest in Lingard over the summer. However, United wanted to keep him as a valuable squad asset.
So far this season he has made just one substitute appearance, in the 1-1 draw at Southampton.
Despite interest from a host of other clubs from the Premier League and abroad this summer, Solskjaer was keen to keep Lingard at the club during the transfer window. So far this season he has made one substitute appearance in the 1-1 draw with Southampton.
The return of club legend Cristiano Ronaldo and the addition of Jadon Sancho hasn’t done much for Lingard’s chances either.
Indeed, at this stage it looks unlikely that he will get his wish for more game time. That leaves a cut-price January exit or a free transfer next summer appearing inevitable.