Solskjaer: Lingard still has a big part to play
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Jesse Lingard’s inner circle were reportedly never convinced Manchester United actually wanted to sell him this summer. To the surprise of many, the attacking midfielder was still a Red Devils player come the end of the transfer window despite firm interest from West Ham.
Lingard was excellent while on loan at the Hammers in the second half of last season, as he netted nine times in 16 Premier League outings.
David Moyes was understandably keen to keep him at the club but United were said to be demanding up to £30million to make the loan move permanent.
West Ham were not prepared to fork out that kind of money for a player who had just one year left on his contract and instead played the waiting game.
There was hope that United may change their stance in the final day of the transfer window but unfortunately for Moyes, that never happened.
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The Irons did have alternative plans in place though and instead moved to sign former Everton man Nikola Vlasic from CSKA Moscow for £26m.
According to the Manchester Evening News, Lingard’s entourage were never fully convinced that United were set on selling their former academy star.
Instead, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made it clear Lingard would be welcomed back to Old Trafford with open arms, even if competition for places in attack was fierce.
The return of Cristiano Ronaldo was also expected to have implications of the future of Lingard with United now stacked with a wealth of options going forward.
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But to his credit, Lingard has not needed much time to stamp his authority on any game he has been involved in.
He has scored twice from the bench in recent weeks in Premier League wins over Newcastle and West Ham respectively.
Last weekend’s late winner against his old side in east London was the perfect way to respond to the catastrophic midweek defeat to Young Boys in the Champions League.
Lingard’s impact from the bench in that match was one to forget after he gifted the Swiss side the winner with a tame back-pass.
Now United are understood to be in talks with Lingard over extending his current contract although his long-term future at the club remains up in the air.
The England international is believed to have rejected United’s opening offer although talks with Lingard and his father remain ongoing.
Anthony Martial is now looking more likely to depart than Lingard and his minutes are now expected to be limited throughout the course of the season.
Lingard will be rewarded with a start when United host West Ham in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
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