There are hugely conflicting reports emerging in the last 24 hours over West Ham United’s hopes of signing Jesse Lingard.
It is the worst kept secret in football that David Moyes wants to sign Lingard permanently this summer.
The midfielder was a sensation on loan from Manchester United scoring nine goals and providing four assists – and several more pre-assists – during a scintillating 16-game spell.
Speculation has been rife as to whether Man United will sell or try to get Lingard – who has a year left on his contract – to sign a new deal.
Speculation rife over Lingard future as insiders claim Hammers deal is ‘nailed on’
There has even been talk the Red Devils could try and use Lingard as a makeweight in deals with other clubs or even West Ham in their own move for Declan Rice.
Moyes finally signed his three-year West Ham contract on Saturday.
And with that came a claim from West Ham insiders Claret and Hugh that Lingard now looked nailed on to make the move to the London Stadium.
“Jesse Lingard now looks a nailed-on certainty to join the Hammers and hopefully Manchester United won’t play their usual long winded game in letting the lad leave,” Claret and Hugh reported.
“The club will now be working on agreeing personal terms with his agents and a fee with (Man) United.”
Hugely conflicting reports as tabloid reports the opposite but insider claims have more substance
But West Ham fans were winded hours later when a report from The Sun claimed Lingard has in fact told Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer he wants to stay at Old Trafford.
The Sun’s ‘exclusive’ claims Lingard told Solskjaer he would ‘far prefer’ to stay at Man United than move to West Ham in a ‘candid’ meeting.
But there appears to be little substance to The Sun’s claims with no quotes or sources named.
Unlike Claret and Hugh’s report which has credited sources from both ends of the potential deal – West Ham and Man United.
What Lingard “wants” is game time and he simply won’t get it at Man United
Even if Lingard does want to stay at Man United, the decision may be taken out of his hands.
West Ham fans got a glimpse of why the midfielder has struggled for game time at Old Trafford when the Hammers faced sides who defended deep against them and let Moyes’s side have the ball.
While West Ham may face that on a handful of occasions in a Premier League season, that is what Man United are up against almost every week.
Solskjaer has a plethora of options ahead of Lingard and will be expected to improve his squad again to compete for the title and in the Champions League.
So with the best will in the world Lingard simply does not have a future back at Man United. Certainly not one that involves playing every week.