They say 13 is unlucky for some and it seems that is the case for West Ham United hero Jesse Lingard at Manchester United.
West Ham look to have been given a big boost in their hopes of landing Lingard after a new move from Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
It is the worst kept secret in football that West Ham boss David Moyes is desperate to sign Lingard permanently this summer.
As a result the will he, won’t he Lingard saga has become tiresome for West Ham fans.
All aboard the Jesse Lingard hamster wheel
Indeed keeping track of the Lingard rollercoaster has not been easy. The midfielder was a revelation on loan at West Ham after joining in January following two years in the wilderness at Man United.
Alongside signing a striker, securing a deal for Lingard is said to be Moyes’s top priority at West Ham this summer.
Lingard was already way down the pecking order at Old Trafford, where he had barely featured for two years under Solskjaer before joining West Ham.
The £74 million arrival of Jadon Sancho since that interview has done little to improve Lingard’s chances of game time at Man United.
Solskjaer decision to hand Mata a new deal makes it unlucky 13 for Lingard but could be a massive boost for West Ham
Now a new – and somewhat surprising – decision from Solskjaer surely puts Lingard’s Man United future in serious doubt after the Red Devils boss handed ageing Juan Mata a new contract (ManUnited.com).
Mata is now one of 13 players who – based on Solskjaer’s selections over the last two years, and the decision to let Lingard leave for West Ham in January – are ahead of the 28-year-old in the Old Trafford pecking order.
The impressive list shows Lingard has little to no chance of regular game time as a midfielder or in one of the forward positions if he elects to stay at his boyhood club rather than push for the move Moyes and West Ham fans dearly want.
If it is game time Lingard truly wants then familiar Hammers are his best bet
It includes Sancho, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani, Scott McTominay, Fred, Bruno Fernandes, Donny van de Beek, Amad Diallo, Anthony Martial, Daniel James and Mata.
And there is even talk Man United could yet move for another striker with the likes of Erling Haaland linked.
If it is game time Lingard truly wants there is only one decision he can make this summer.
Whether West Ham and Man United can agree a fee is another matter.