Jesse Lingard is back. He is scoring goals and winning matches for West Ham United since joining on loan in January, and it is simply a joy to see. Though some have taken the opportunity to take shots at the club and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for keeping him on the bench, this is clearly evidence of how change of scenery can positively affect a player. Rather than bringing Lingard back into the fold, it might be best for the player and both clubs to arrange a permanent move.
Lingard’s struggles to break through into Manchester United’s starting XI since the arrival of Bruno Fernandes meant he only saw action occasionally off the bench or in cup games against weaker opposition. Paired with carrying extra weight personally in taking care of his mother and siblings, it was difficult for him to find the form that once made him a regular. He was unable to impress in a no. 10 or right-wing role before Bruno’s arrival, and it seems even more unlikely that he will be able to go through Bruno to win back the starting role at the head of Solskjaer’s midfield.
Laurie Whitwell, one of The Athletic’s Manchester United correspondents, reported that Manchester United see Jesse Lingard as a potential bargaining chip in their pursuit of holding midfielder Declan Rice this summer.
Manchester United set to explore prospect of signing Declan Rice in any talks over Jesse Lingard to West Ham in summer.— Laurie Whitwell (@lauriewhitwell) April 8, 2021
Moving parts here - #MUFC targets in other positions + #WHUFC reluctance to sell - but Rice is under consideration.@RoshaneSporthttps://t.co/1XLIqsnwQ4
Obviously any deal would likely require an additional fee as well, but with Lingard impressing in David Moyes’ outfit, the price could be coming down a bit. Lingard has provided 6 goals and 3 assists for the Hammers, and has seriously boosted their chances of finishing in a UEFA Champions League qualification spot. Recently against Wolves he scored and pulled off a Dimitar Berbatov move to keep the ball in at the touchline before sending it in to Pablo Fornals for the finish.
It gives me, I think they call it 'endorphins'. pic.twitter.com/xbAkRCinjP— West Ham United (@WestHam) April 6, 2021
If Solskjaer sees a future for Lingard at Old Trafford then of course the club should consider that wish, but by all indications Lingard was not considered a vital squad option. If he returns to United he may be back on the bench, which would be a waste of his talents and desire to play the game. He is thriving at West Ham, and Manchester United should take the option to offload wages — either bring in a sizeable transfer fee or use him in a swap deal, and free up money for the next season and other transfer targets. Lingard has been a great servant for Manchester United, and scored some memorable goals, but a permanent move to West Ham is likely best for all parties involved, especially Lingard.