Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard is set to leave the club at the end of the season, according to reports from transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano. The 29-year-old’s contract is due to expire this summer, and he will part ways with the club he has been with since the year 2000.
Lingard, after a sensational spell on loan with West Ham in the back-end of last season, returned to Manchester United with hopes of pinning down a starting spot. He has cut a frustrated figure, having only started a solitary match for the Red Devils. Across 12 appearances in the Premier League, he has managed just two goals.
He was poised to leave for Newcastle United as part of the latter’s winter spending spree, but a move broke down due to Manchester United’s reluctance to offload him. Perhaps, Mason Greenwood’s arrest following charges of rape and sexual assault, alongside Anthony Martial’s departure to Sevilla, changed the minds of the United hierarchy.
After having restored his confidence back following a series of injuries and mental health struggles, Lingard was desperate for regular football. Minutes have been hard to come by, and despite having a short-staffed attacking unit, Ralf Rangnick has sparsely used him.
Romano also added that Lingard will remain professional, continue to fight for his place and respect the decisions made by Manchester United until the end of the season.
It, therefore, makes sense for the talented midfielder to enjoy his final few prime years starting matches for a club every weekend. The likes of Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham and Newcastle United could come knocking in the summer for Lingard’s signature, but it’ll be interesting to see if Manchester United sell their academy-bred star to a direct top-four rival.
The Premier League giants will also rue the fact that they are not going to fetch any sum of money for Lingard’s departure. Had they allowed him to leave last summer or even in January, it’d have been a shrewd piece of business for both parties.
After failing to find the back of the net against Watford, Lingard and Manchester United have the herculean task of beating Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on March 6, in their next league game.