Barcelona are reportedly one of two front-runners to sign Jesse Lingard if he leaves Manchester United as a free agent next summer.
According to a report by Daily Mail, Barcelona and AC Milan are leading the race to sign Jesse Lingard on a Bosman move in next summer’s transfer window. The English attacker has turned down a contract offer from Manchester United and is set to become a free agent, as things stand.
Jesse Lingard has endured a roller-coaster of a ride at Manchester United since the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. A regular feature under Jose Mourinho, the 28-year-old gradually became a bit-part player, particularly following the arrival of Bruno Fernandes, and barely featured in the first half of last season.
However, Lingard was a player reborn upon joining West Ham United on a short-term loan deal, playing a key role in securing a sixth-place finish in the Premier League last term. Since returning to Manchester United, the English international has once again become a backup option, starting just one game so far.
However, he has looked in good touch, with two goals and an assist in just 136 minutes of action. Lingard, though, appears set to run down his contract with Manchester United, as he wants regular game-time in order to secure a place in the England squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Such a situation has now piqued the interest of Barcelona.
Barcelona are constantly scouring the market for cut-price and free transfer opportunities due to their precarious financial situation. Such a stance helped them fetch Eric Garcia, Memphis Depay and Sergio Aguero last season, with targets such as Denis Zakaria, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen lined up for next summer to that end.
Another player falling in the category is Lingard, who is in the final year of his Manchester United contract, although the Red Devils are considering a January sale if he does not sign a renewal. The interest from Barcelona, though, does make sense amid the uncertainty surrounding Ousmane Dembele.
Apart from Barcelona, AC Milan are also the front-runners to sign Lingard on a free transfer, although they could be forced to make their move in January if Manchester United are adamant in offloading him this winter. Newcastle United could also be in the hunt for the 28-year-old attacker and it remains to be seen where he ends up playing his football next year.