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Jesse Lingard – Should he go this January?

Jesse Lingard was on the fringes at Manchester United last season and hadn’t been part of an England squad for over a year. As a result, he was sent out on loan to West Ham United.

This move to the London Stadium ended up being a huge turning point in his career. The midfielder was magnificent for the Hammers, firing them into a Europa League place with nine goals in 16 outings.

His form earned him a spot in Gareth Southgate’s provisional squad for the European Championships – although he was left out of the final squad. But, more importantly, it gave him a second chance at Old Trafford.

Lingard was supposed to come back to Man Utd like a new signing. And, after scoring beauties off the bench against Newcastle United and West Ham, it looked like he was back in business.

But he has not done much since then and is still yet to make his first league start of the season. With his contract expiring in the summer, he looks set to move on soon.

There have been plenty of rumours about his next destination, with reports he could be sold this January while still having some market value. Let’s have a look at his options.

Stay at Manchester United

Lingard isn’t a regular at Man Utd

Lingard isn’t getting regular game time at Man Utd. Even in Ralf Rangnick’s new system that utilises two attacking midfielders, he still can’t get a start ahead of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, or Jadon Sancho.

Unless he fancies himself to push ahead of those four in the queue, his situation is unlikely to change at the Red Devils. Surely he would be better off leaving as soon as possible?

Well, it depends on what he’s looking for in his next move. The World Cup is just under a year away, and he’s not going to get back into the England squad if he’s sat on the bench.

Since his last call up, he’s seen Emile Smith Rowe and Conor Gallagher climb ahead of him in the pecking order.

However, if he stays at Old Trafford for the rest of the season, he can leave as a free agent. This would give him more control over where he goes next and probably get him a better salary and signing-on fee.

West Ham United

A return to West Ham seems like the sensible option

Lingard played the best football of his career during his stint at West Ham. If he went back, he would be returning to a place where he is known and loved.

And it would be a move that suits the club as well. Nikola Vlasic was signed last summer to replace the England international, but the Croatian is yet to make an impact.

At the time of writing, David Moyes’ men are sat in fourth place while also competing in the FA Cup and Europa League.

If he opts for a move to east London, Lingard will be a guaranteed starter in Europe and could play in the Champions League next year.

Tottenham Hotspur

Could Lingard link up with England teammate Harry Kane at Spurs?

Tottenham Hotspur are also reportedly pursuing the 29-year-old. Dele Alli and Tanguy Ndombele are both out of favour in north London, so they could need an attacking midfielder soon.

Spurs are also in contention for a top-four spot this term. They sit one point behind West Ham with three games in hand. Having gone unbeaten in their last nine league games, they will fancy themselves to qualify for the Champions League.

However, question marks remain over how much game time he would get. He’d likely get more starts than at Man Utd, but he still wouldn’t be a certainty in Antonio Conte’s first XI.

Newcastle United

….or could he reunite with Kieran Trippier at St James’ Park?

Lingard has one other option, which comes at the other end of the table. Following their takeover, Newcastle United have been busy in the market to save their season.

The Magpies are currently 19th in the Premier League, two points from safety. By making a move up north, Lingard would be running the risk of being a Championship player in a few months.

But there is no doubt that he would get regular minutes on the pitch. He would become one of their most important players.

Manager Eddie Howe would hope that Lingard’s arrival would give them enough to stay up. Along with the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson, you’d think that their frontline would be too good to go down.

But they still have significant issues at the back. In 20 outings, Newcastle have conceded 43 goals – only Norwich City have shipped more.

The club are working on a deal for Diego Carlos from Sevilla, but this transfer is still far from completion.

Read also: Ralf Rangnick tells Manchester United to sell three first-team stars, backs under-fire midfielder.

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