Jesse Lingard’s resurgence at West Ham last season saw him score nine goals and assist five times in just 16 Premier League outings. While there are rumours that the 28-year-old could be out of the door this transfer window, there is also a possibility that he has a role to play for Manchester United next season.
The midfielder has played a part in both pre-season matches so far. Against Derby County he looked sharp and was unlucky to not be on the scoresheet as his curling effort from distance cannoned off the crossbar, and while United lost out to Queens Park Rangers, Lingard had a solid individual performance and scored the opening goal of the match.Embed from Getty Images
Before his loan move in London, the midfielder had a difficult 18 months on and off the field. It was crucial that he began to enjoy his football again, and then the performances would come with that – it’s exactly what has happened. Speaking on the loan move back in March, Ole Gunnar Solskjær told Sky Sports that it was a ‘no brainer’ decision to send Lingard to The Hammers.
“It has really worked out for Jesse, for David [Moyes] and for us as a club as well. We know Jesse’s position is a 10 and we’ve got Bruno (Fernandes) there,” said the United boss.
“For me, it was a no-brainer to get Jesse a chance to prove himself and play some football again. He has been really bright for them. He’s finally back to himself.”
Lingard had been a regular in the United first-team ever since the 2015/16 season where he scored a beautiful winning goal in the FA Cup Final at the end of the campaign under Louis van Gaal. He was a favourite under Jose Mourinho too and was trusted by Solskjær until Bruno Fernandes joined the club and took storm.
His great performances for David Moyes’ side last season made people think that he could be makeweight in a possible deal for Declan Rice. The Athletic reported that this was the case back in April and that Rice is the possible long-term replacement for Nemanja Matic.Embed from Getty Images
However, West Ham have a hefty price tag on their captain and also have European football on their side to persuade their captain. This could mean that Rice stays an extra year at the Olympic Stadium. In turn, meaning that Lingard could have a role at Old Trafford.
There are not only positives to having Lingard around off the pitch; with his great attitude, training ethic and relationship with the squad, but also his ability on the pitch – something that seems to have resurfaced after his spell at West Ham.
While Donny van de Beek will be hot on Bruno Fernandes’ heals, looking for more game time next season, Lingard could prove further competition to the attacking options ahead of him.
It seems that while the 28-year-old could be part of the squad next season, he could also leave United for good. Yet, the manager seems to value the midfielders attributes highly and wants him to be at Old Trafford next season.
“There’s nothing better than seeing players willing to fight for their place. Of course, what he did towards the end of the season, that is the true Jesse.” Solskjær said in a press conference after the win yesterday.
“That’s what we know he is capable of. I think we saw towards the end [of our own season] that we lacked maybe some options at times. He’s still in my plans. I expect him at Man United at the start of the season.”Embed from Getty Images
If the Englishman does remain at Old Trafford, he would provide depth in the No.10 position and while it would be difficult for Solskjær to keep all three of Lingard, Van de Beek and Bruno happy, he would have three very different options in the hole.
While there has also been reports that the United manager would like to change formation to a more offensive 4-3-3. Lingard has played as an eight previously, mostly for England, it would be a position that he could possibly challenge for if he is to remain at Old Trafford and the switch does occur.
While it would probably be more beneficial for United to sell Lingard on and invest in other areas of the squad, it is also likely that we would see a very different player to the one that took to the field throughout the 2019/20 campaign.
Get your Manchester United 2021/22 gear at Kitbag below!