Manchester United expert and United in Focus writer Dan Coombs has given us here at Hammers News an exclusive and detailed insight on the current situation of Jesse Lingard amidst intense links with a return to West Ham in January.
Hammers insiders Claret and Hugh recently suggested that David Moyes could try to bring the 28-year-old back to the London Stadium in January.
The majority of West Ham fans would love to see Lingard back at the club.
Is that a realistic prospect, however? Do we have any kind of genuine hope of prising him away from Manchester United in January?
Manchester United expert gives lowdown on Lingard situation amidst West Ham links
We spoke to a man in the know when it comes to everything involved with Man United.
Dan Coombs writes for Manchester United fansite United in Focus.
Hammers News sat down with the United in Focus writer to discuss the ins and outs of Lingard’s current situation at Old Trafford.
Here is the transcript of the full interview…
Do you think Jesse Lingard made the right decision to stay at Manchester United?
It was a surprising decision, especially after he just missed out on the England squad. It seems like a mix of United and West Ham being unable to agree terms, and Lingard’s desire to stay, plus a lack of alternative offers. Ultimately, if he had said he wanted to sign for West Ham, I believe it would have got done one way or another.
At this stage it is neither a poor move or a good move, that’s up to Jesse to go and prove now. He is still in control with his contract having just a year left, so it is hard to blame him wanting one last crack at United, and he can move on in January if it doesn’t work out.
The spell at West Ham gave him his confidence back and he believes in himself, so he wants to prove he can still cut it at United.
Is Jesse viewed by Solskjaer purely as a cup player? Is there any way he will feature from the start in the Premier League on a regular basis?
I think Lingard will be more than just a cup player. One of the reasons Solskjaer was happy to keep him was an admission that he overplayed Bruno Fernandes last season. While Bruno led the team in goals and assists, he looked burned out by the end of the campaign and you could argue this cost us in the Europa League final.
Solskjaer seemingly does not believe Donny van de Beek is a viable alternative to Bruno in his role, preferring him deeper, if at all. So Lingard becomes the top alternative. He will get some league starts, and its possible – although not probable – he could start this weekend against Newcastle, with Fernandes saved for the Champions League away trip days later.
The other possibility is Lingard will be saved for the cup game against West Ham as an audition, to force his way into the team from there, but I think he’ll get minutes before that.
Is he even first choice as an impact sub from the bench?
I think it’s important to remember that he was unavailable for the first game due to Covid. So then we are talking one of two games where he has featured from the bench. We have so many options so it is going to be tough to keep everybody happy, and some substitutions will depend on game scenarios, eg, do you need a defender rather than an attacker. That’s why it’s important that he gets a share of starts.
Do you think Man United want to extend his contract before selling him in January or next summer?
It is United’s business model to avoid players leaving on a free wherever possible. Often this backfires, like having to pay off Marcos Rojo’s contract and being stuck with Phil Jones. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Lingard is offered a new deal, however, regardless of whether we keep or sell him.
Was his decision to stay at Manchester United more for personal reasons than footballing ones?
That certainly plays a part, but I think football was the main aspect. It didn’t stop Lingard leaving on loan, and he wanted to give United one last crack.
I also think he may have been hoping that a Champions League club came knocking after his performances last season. If that had been the case, I expect that he would have jumped at the opportunity. There may have been some doubt over how much West Ham wanted him. You guys had the money, see Zouma and Vlasic, so why not pay up?
What do Man united fans think of him staying? Is the general consensus that he should have left ?
The general consensus is that we are a little nervous for him. Even fans who were sceptical of his quality have been turned around by his performances in 2021 and believe that he has something to offer. The worry comes in with regard to whether he will actually get to show it. We are open minded to see what he can do if he gets the chance.
Is he a popular figure in the dressing room at Old Trafford like he was at West Ham?
Hugely. Even though he has been away, he hasn’t missed a beat. We have seen pictures of him getting to know Jadon Sancho and help him settle in, while he has a bond with main rival Fernandes too. Fernandes was the first to congratulate him on Instagram after his two England goals on Sunday.
Do you think staying at Man United improves or hinders his chances of making the World Cup squad?
If he gets game time, he’s good. But he can’t afford a start to the season like last year in which he literally only played Carabao Cup matches. If that happens again, it’s time to move on. I don’t think that will happen, and if he can start even just 25% of our league games and make an impact then he’s fine for England.
His goals for England this past weekend showed Southgate his value. I’d say his main rival for the England squad spot is probably Dele Alli, so I’d watch that. He needs to outperform him, one way or another, wherever he is.
I’d expect in January, Lingard will re-assess how the first half of the season has gone, speak to Southgate, and go from there.
If he was majorly concerned about England, he’d have left this summer. I think he knows if he can make it in this competitive United team, he will be a shoo-in for England.
And finally as a Man United fan, if his contract is extended, what do you think is a fair price?
This will depend on his performances and whether he plays. I always thought £30 million was overly ambitious, based on his age. Anything less than £20 million would be a bit disappointing, but I think we will do right by him. If Lingard says ‘this is the club I want to leave for, please let me go’, United would consider a £15-20m fee out of respect for him, rather than have an unhappy player on the books.
Hammers hopes slim?
So there you have it. It seems as though Jesse is intent to prove himself at Old Trafford. And who can blame him for that? Manchester United is Lingard’s boyhood club and he has close family ties in the area as well.
West Ham still have a chance of signing the 28-year-old, however. As Dan mentioned, if Lingard fails to establish himself as a regular player for Man United over the course of the next three months, it will surely be time for him to move on.
Whatever happens in the end, we wish Jesse all the best. He was brilliant for us and is clearly a great lad. Hopefully will will see him regularly in East London at some point in the future.