Solskjaer: Lingard still has a big part to play
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Jesse Lingard has been left on the periphery at Manchester United once again despite a resurgent loan spell at West Ham during the second half of last season. The midfielder may look to return to the London Stadium, but United may block a deal out of fear this time around, per reports.
Lingard revived his career after a stunning loan spell at West Ham saw the midfielder flourish in the Premier League post-January.
The attacker was on the verge of being the forgotten man at United but reminded the world of what he could produce, as nine goals and five assists in 16 Premier League games for West Ham fired them into the Europa League.
The Hammers were unsurprisingly keen on making the loan deal for Lingard a permanent move, but the midfielder returned to United to fight for his place after being told by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he was part of his plans.
However, Lingard has once again struggled for game time which has sparked rumours that he could return to West Ham after all, but there could be a drawback.
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Lingard has scored two Premier League goals for United this season, but that has come from just 63 minutes of game time, and the midfielder has been restricted to just 154 minutes across all competitions despite Solskjaer’s summer assurances.
Due to Lingard’s ongoing exclusion, West Ham will reportedly attempt to re-sign the midfielder in January, but according to The Telegraph the club fear that United will not allow a deal to be completed because they now regard them as a top-four rival.
West Ham have been in fantastic form this season and moved into third place just before the international break as they ended Liverpool’s unbeaten run with a 3-2 win at the London Stadium.
The Hammers have won seven out of their 11 Premier League matches and sit six points ahead of United as they battle it out for the top-four.
Lingard could be the boost that West Ham need once again to reach the heights that David Moyes is aiming for, which is exactly why United may not sanction a deal.
United are struggling despite being tipped as one of the favourites for the title at the start of the season, and with their top-four hopes already looking bleak, strengthening any rivals could make their task even harder.
Of course, West Ham still aren’t favourites to secure a Champions League place, but with the way that Moyes’ men are performing, their potential this season simply cannot be underestimated.
Contract talks have stalled with United making Lingard’s exit inevitable, and it is understood that he would favour a loan move until the end of the season within the Premier League before then signing a long-term deal on a free transfer in the summer.
Lingard could repeat his move to West Ham, but United may block the loan move and push for a deal with another Premier League side as they desperately look to get back into the top-four.
Moyes may go all out for Lingard though, and even if they miss out on the top-four, West Ham could qualify for the Champions League via a different route.
West Ham have been excellent in the Europa League this season and they are already favourites to win the competition, and if they successfully achieve that then they will qualify for the Champions League next year.
With West Ham needing squad depth to perform in both the Premier League and the latter stages of the Europa League, Lingard could be a key signing for Moyes, and United star already has experience of winning the trophy in 2018.
It could be a messy situation in January with player demands and club preferences dividing opinions, but Lingard’s contract expires at the end of the season which may benefit the 28-year-old.
West Ham could remain patient and sign Lingard on a pre-contract agreement, unless the midfielder sees a better opportunity come his way.
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