English international Jesse Lingard has rejected a new Manchester United contract as he seeks clarity on his first-team future at the club.
According to ESPN, Jesse Lingard has rejected a new contract offer from Manchester United as he continues to seek out exactly where he stands in the club’s hierarchy.
The 28-year-old returned to Old Trafford following an excellent loan spell at West Ham United. He scored nine goals and assisted five more in 16 games as the Hammers fell short of Champions League qualification. Despite being linked with a move away, Lingard stayed on at United this summer. He has so far played just four minutes for the Red Devils this season, a cameo against Southampton at St Marys’.
Lingard is currently in the final year of his contract at United and can leave for a free next year. While United has offered him a deal, he is keen to ensure there will be ample playtime on offer.
Given that he is 28 and in the prime of his career, Lingard’s decision is understandable. Considering the riches at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s disposal, Lingard is far from assured a starting role at Old Trafford. However, he could potentially play a key role for another club, much like he did at West Ham earlier this year.
As one of the best players in the Premier League since the turn of the year, Lingard can count himself unfortunate at missing out on England’s Euro 2020 squad. The 28-year-old is aware that playing regularly could boost his chances of making it to Gareth Southgate’s squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Solskjaer, for his part, was keen to keep hold of the player this summer. While Lingard offers strength in depth, it is debatable if the arrangement will also see him benefit in the same manner. The United boss has done much good at Old Trafford but coaxing the best out of Lingard isn’t one. Perhaps as a reminder, Lingard put up an excellent performance for England against Iceland, scoring a brace on the night.
With the likes of Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, among others available, Lingard has a real fight on his hands to gain regular playtime.
Having come through the United academy, he played starring roles for the club under Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho. It would be best for him to seek his fortunes elsewhere than look to force Solskjaer’s hand. As he showed at West ham last season, there is a career for to be had away from Old Trafford.
A versatile player capable of playing in a number of positions, Lingard has shown himself to be a dynamic presence on numerous occasions. He has the traits to flourish in the right system and under a manager who can play to his strengths. United for their part, should have sold the player earlier this summer when his stock was high. By not doing so, they now risk losing a rejuvenated Lingard for nothing. If that were to happen, they have nobody but themselves to blame.