West Ham United

West Ham United

Premier League • England

West Ham laughing, as Jesse Lingard to Al Ettifaq hits snag despite star’s first goal

New Nottingham Forest player Jesse Lingard

Jesse Lingard, formerly of Nottingham Forest

The prospective transfer of Jesse Lingard to Al Ettifaq has been delayed due to a Saudi Arabia ruling – in news which will delight some West Ham supporters.

Lingard had his first spell with West Ham in the second half of the 2020-21 campaign, joining them on loan from Manchester United after falling out of favour at Old Trafford. The attacking midfielder emerged into an integral player for West Ham, registering nine goals and five assists in 16 games to help them qualify for the following season’s Europa League.

Lingard was tipped to join West Ham on a permanent basis that summer, but he instead went back to Man Utd. And the Englishman was once again expected to link up with David Moyes the following summer, when he became a free agent.

But Lingard rejected West Ham in favour of a more lucrative contract at Nottingham Forest, though he failed to make a significant impact in the East Midlands.

On September 12, Moyes confirmed that Lingard had been training with his side for several weeks, leading to rumours the two parties might finally reunite for the 2023-24 season.

But then it emerged that Lingard would not be returning to the London Stadium. Football Insider claimed that Lingard was way off the fitness level required to shine in the Prem.

READ MORE: Man Utd star’s move to West Ham back on as Moyes revives interest to counteract Saudi Pro League exit

Lingard’s trial spell at West Ham reportedly cost the club ‘thousands of pounds’.

The 30-year-old then opted to train with Saudi Arabian club Al Ettifaq after being offered a lifeline by their manager, Steven Gerrard.

Jesse Lingard prevented from joining Al Ettifaq – for now

Sky Sports have now provided an update on the situation. They state that while Lingard is ‘edging closer’ to signing for Ettifaq, he will not actually be able to represent the club in a competitive match until January.

That is because Gerrard already has 10 foreign players registered in his squad, whereas Saudi Pro League rules state that teams can only have eight foreign players in their matchday squads.

As such, Ettifaq will need to offload several of those players in January before Lingard can play under Gerrard. That means Lingard faces numerous months of waiting before he can appear in a competitive game once again.

In the mean time, Lingard will have to settle for simply training with Ettifaq and playing in friendlies. He featured in their recent friendly against Al Khaldiya and managed to get on the scoresheet.

Meanwhile, TEAMtalk understands West Ham are preparing a bumper new contract for one of their top stars in order to ward off two Prem rivals.