Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits he’s delighted to see Jesse Lingard back in a Manchester United shirt and fighting for his future amid claims that the club are torn over his potential sale this summer.
The 28-year-old’s future is likely to prove one of the key tales of this transfer window after catching the eye during his loan stint with West Ham. While he barely featured for United in the first half of the campaign, he came to life at the London Stadium. In fact, he scored nine goals and assisted five others to help West Ham qualify for the Europa League.
But for the first time in 191 days, Lingard on Sunday turned out for the Red Devils in their pre-season clash at Derby.
Now it seems Lingard may have turned Solskjaer’s head and convinced him his future should be in Manchester.
“Jesse has come back, he’s been bright and he wants to fight for his place,” he explained, following the 2-1 win at Pride Park. “There’s nothing better than seeing players willing to fight for their place.
“Of course, what he did towards the end of the season, that is the true Jesse. That’s what we know he is capable of.
“I think we saw towards the end [of our own season] that we lacked maybe some options at times.”
Indeed, there is a growing feeling within United’s top brass that is a fee they can achieve. Furthermore, reports in Italy claim AC Milan are also sniffing around his signature and ready to pay United what they are asking.
With less than 12 months left on his deal, United will either have to reward him with a new deal or sell.
But Lingard himself is said to have concerns over the number of games he’d play were he to stay.
He is believed to favour a move to West Ham, where he flourished. Hammers boss David Moyes has made it clear that he would like Lingard to sign on a long-term deal.
It seems that should he stay, Solskjaer will need to convince United’s money men where Lingard will feature.
A decision on his future is likely to be made in the coming days, however, Solskjaer appears keen to keep him.
“He’s still in my plans. I expect him at Man Utd at the start of the season,” Solskjaer concluded.
Solskjaer concerned over Man Utd options
Despite confirming the imminent arrival of Jadon Sancho, Solskjaer remains concerned at the lack of options he has.
Lingard‘s presence could eleviate that, while the shoulder injury Marcus Rashford is carrying could see their options dwindle further.
Rashford is yet to decide if he will have surgery on the problem. Were he to do so, that would sideline the player for three months.
“We’re looking at the best options,” Solskjaer confirmed on Rashford. “We’re still addressing that with the experts.”
As for the game, Solskjaer added: “The first game is always difficult. It’s the first test of 45 minutes, big pitch, took a bit of time to get going. We had loads of young players getting their chance to play with some of the first-team ones.
“[Tom Heaton] has conducted himself so well throughout his career. I was just on the end of my career when he was coming up. I’m so happy to have him.
“Tom wants to play as well, I think he’s been unlucky with an injury last season. I think he would have been in the England squad if not. Of course, he’s got ambitions.”