The reasons behind Jesse Lingard and West Ham failing to agree a deal have come to light with the former England star closing on a move to Steven Gerrard’s Al-Ettifaq instead.
Lingard has been a free agent since the end of last season when his one-year contract at Nottingham Forest came to an end with the player falling out of favour under Steve Cooper. And when Lingard returned to West Ham for a trial spell over the summer, it appeared likely the Hammers would re-sign the former England player, who was a huge favourite with supporters during his short spell with the club back in 2021.
Indeed, during his 16 game-stint with the Hammers during the second half of the 2020/21 campaign, Lingard scored nine times in what was arguably the most prolific spell of his career.
For all intents and purposes, a free-transfer return looked set to be on the cards with Hammers boss David Moyes going public with his optimism over the chances of striking a potential deal.
However, it was announced this week that Lingard would not be joining West Ham for a second spell after all and was instead heading to Saudi Arabia for a spell on trial with Steven Gerrard’s Al-Ettifaq.
In total, Lingard spent six weeks back in London on trial with the Hammers, with Moyes’ side bearing the burden of the player’s hotel costs and travel expenses. Indeed, Lingard was handed a six-month driving ban earlier this year after giving police a fake name following a speeding indiscretion. As a result, the 30-year-old’s travel and accommodation costs are reported to have racked up to ‘thousands of pounds’.
West Ham turned down Lingard over fitness concerns – report
With Lingard instead moving to Saudi for a similar trial spell, it was inferred in Friday’s media that West Ham had been left disappointed by the player’s stance.
However, rather than Lingard turning his back on a possible deal with West Ham, a report in Football Insider actually states the decision was made entirely by Moyes and his coaching staff instead.
And they say their verdict was reached with Lingard failing to convince staff of his fitness levels during his time back in east London.
The report claims the player was deemed ‘nowhere near the level required of a Premier League midfielder’ and that ‘it would take him too long to get up to speed’.
Ultimately, that saw the club perform a U-turn on their initial plans to sign the player, informing him that he could instead look to fix himself up elsewhere.
Lingard spent a total of six weeks with West Ham, playing in a behind-closed doors friendly against Championship promotion-chasers Ipswich Town in mid-September. And it was after that game that the Irons decided to let Lingard know that they would not be signing him for a second spell.
The former Manchester United man will now hope he can do enough to earn a deal with Gerrard’s Al-Ettifaq, where he could team up in midfield with former England colleague Jordan Henderson.