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Jesse Lingard leaves the club on loan

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The young forward has been sent out for some first-team football, with Brighton & Hove Albion the chosen destination.

Brendon Thorne

No rumours this time, just hard straight cold facts, from us, to you, via Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion. 21-year-old United prospect Jesse "Not The Goalkeeper" Lingard has joined the Championship club on a 93-day loan.

Brighton manager Oscar Garcia sounded appropriately enthusiastic:

We are delighted we have finally secured Jesse until the end of the season. He is one of the most exciting young English strikers and has already created a lot of interest following his successful loan spell at Birmingham City earlier this season. ... There were many clubs interested in signing him, so we are very grateful to David Moyes and all those at Manchester United for allowing him to come to us here at Brighton & Hove Albion.

That previous loan began, as you may recall, with Lingard scoring four goals in his first game for Birmingham. He scored two more while there, and has also scored six for United's U21s. Brighton are currently four points off sixth in the Championship with a game in hand, play some pretty football, and recently took Hull City to a replay in the FA Cup. Should they make it to the play-offs, then Lingard will be eligible for those games.

Whether this one of those loans that presages a manager moving on a youngster he doesn't particularly fancy, or -- as is to be hoped -- merely the final stage in polishing Lingard from an exciting bundle of potential into a United-ready forward, remains to be seen. The heart hopes the latter; the head perhaps the former. After all, if Moyes liked him, might things not be getting desperate enough to stick him on the bench?