West Ham United have seen their hopes of signing Jesse Lingard on a free transfer boosted after the attacking midfielder saw his move to DC United break down.
The 30-year-old former England international remains without a club after leaving Nottingham Forest upon the expiry of his one-year deal at the end of last season. Lingard made 20 appearances for the Tricky Trees in all competitions, scoring two goals.
Since his release, Lingard has been training with his former club West Ham, with whom he enjoyed a very successful spell on loan back in the 2020/21 season. And having scored nine times in 16 games for the Hammers, it came as a major shock when he opted to sign for Forest over the Hammers when his Manchester United deal came to an end last summer.
However, after a limited impact at the City Ground, Forest decided against extending the player’s stay, leading to Lingard once again entering free-agency status.
Having since begun training with West Ham again, David Moyes’ assistant, Kevin Nolan, recently dropped a very strong indication that Lingard was set to be offered a contract to play for West Ham.
That plan, though, appeared to hit the skids when it emerged over the weekend that Lingard was also holding talks with MLS side DC United.
However, the capital club, who are managed to Lingard’s former Man Utd teammate, Wayne Rooney, have now seen their hopes of landing the player collapse.
With the player seeking a long-term deal to guarantee his future, DC United saw their hopes dashed over salary cap rules. Per the Washington Post, Rooney has now had to abandon his plan to sign Lingard as well as another former United star in Ravel Morrison.
West Ham in the clear to sign Jesse Lingard
And with the MLS roster deadline closing on September 13, DC United will likely have to manage with the squad that has served them thus far.
As for Lingard, the breakdown of his move to the United States now puts West Ham in a strong position.
While Lingard would hope for a longer arrangement than the one-year deal West Ham would likely offer him, it would potentially leave him with few options but to accept their proposal.
Discussing the prospects of the player signing for the Hammers last month, Nolan said:
“Listen, he had a fantastic six months with us,” he said.
“He re-energised himself, he re-energised the club and he did what he needed to do. I think because of that, the gaffer has said to him: ‘Come in and train with us.’
“He’s not quite up to match fitness, at the minute. I think we will continue to assess as we go along.
“But Jesse, the first day you see him, and he says it: ‘I feel like it’s my second home and I feel like I need to be here to go again.’ If it works for both I think, it will happen. But that will be up to the boss. All we have to do is sort of see how he does over the next couple of weeks.”
West Ham have made an excellent start to the season and currently sit fourth after an unbeaten start that has seen them collect three wins and a draw from four games to date.