Another Premier League club has entered the race to sign Jesse Lingard, and that action could prompt West Ham to open the chequebook, per a report.
Lingard’s 22-year association with Manchester United came to a close last month. The 29-year-old is now a free agent and the list of clubs linked with bringing him on board is a lengthy one.
Indeed, West Ham, Newcastle, Everton and Tottenham have all drawn links from within the Premier League.
From further afield, Lingard has received proposals from MLS sides as well as from Saudi Arabia.
The frontrunner in the race, according to the Guardian, remains West Ham.
The Hammers have already tabled a contract offer, though their terms have not matched Lingard’s reported £180,000-a-week salary demands.
However, per the report, they may soon be willing to stump up the cash amid interest from Nottingham Forest.
Steve Cooper’s side have not been shy in opening their chequebook thus far, including deals worth £17m+ for Neco Williams and Taiwo Awoniyi respectively.
Forest prepared to smash wage structure
The Telegraph stated the Premier League newcomers are in ‘advanced talks’ with Lingard, something which West Ham are all too aware of.
In response, David Moyes side have reportedly held further talks with Lingard and a decision on his future is expected ‘soon’. In order to be chosen by Lingard, West Ham may have to relax their stance on the player’s wage demands.
Regarding Tottenham’s level of interest, the Guardian described the north Londoners as ‘monitoring the situation’.
However, Romano subsequently tweeted Spurs are ‘not even interested’ and now appear to be out of the running.
Lingard must remain in the Premier League
Lingard still retains ambitions of breaking back into England’s squad for the Qatar World Cup.
To do so, he must tread carefully with his next career move.
A switch to America or Saudi Arabia would ensure he is well compensated financially. However, performing well in comparatively lesser leagues will not catch Gareth Southgate’s eye.
Lingard is reported to be favouring remaining in England. He would be guaranteed regular game-time at Forest, though he has already proven himself at West Ham through a scintillating loan spell 18 months ago.
Whichever club Lingard plumps for, it is a positive for both he and Southgate that his priority now remains staying in England.