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England v Hungary - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Eddie Keogh - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard is reportedly considering his options amid ongoing contract talks with the club, including opportunities abroad in Italy and Spain. Two massive clubs named so far are AC Milan and FC Barcelona. While both historic teams are experiencing financial difficulty due to Covid, they represent intriguing options for Lingard as a free agent next Summer. For now both clubs seem to be regulars in either the UEFA Champions League or Europa League, and Lingard would likely walk into either starting XI.

According to ESPN’s Rob Dawson, Lingard is awaiting a new contract offer as well as clarity over his role in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team going forward. Lingard spent the last half of the 2020/21 season on loan at West Ham United due to the limited playing time at Old Trafford, and has continued to serve as a rotational option or as a substitute off the bench so far this season. With his contract due to run up in June, 2022, Lingard holds some power in deciding his future.

Lingard has been useful for United off the bench this season, scoring against Newcastle United in the final minutes as well as scoring the winner late against his former loan club, West Ham, at the London Stadium. It seems unlikely however that he will earn much more of a role than that. With Rashford returning, he and new transfer signing Jadon Sancho will likely be the first choice wingers, and Bruno Fernandes occupies the no. 10 role, which Lingard failed to take command of two seasons ago. Being a key contributor off the bench is a very valuable depth piece for the club to hold onto, but if Lingard wants regular starter wages as well as minutes then the player may well seek a new chapter in his career.