Everton have reportedly entered the race to sign Manchester United ace Jesse Lingard and are readying a January swoop for the England international.

According to Football Insider, Everton are the latest to join a slew of clubs trying to secure the signing of England star Jesse Lingard and are exploring the possibility of luring the Manchester United star to Goodison Park in January.

The report states that Everton boss Rafael Benitez is a great admirer of the 28-year-old’s creative talents and has urged the club to make him a priority in the upcoming January transfer window as the Merseysiders search for a vibrant attacking midfielder who can provide goals and creative impetus and can hit the ground running straight-away.

Lingard, a Manchester United academy product, is having a rough time at Old Trafford. The England international has only featured in 146 minutes of footballing action in all competitions despite scoring two vital goals as a substitute. After enduring several tough seasons at Manchester suffering from a poor run of the form and unfortunate off-field issues, Lingard was loaned out to West Ham for the second half of the 2020/21 season to rejuvenate his career.

Lingard proved his quality at West Ham with amazing performances and a red-hot goalscoring run to turn his fortunes around. He contributed with 9 goals and 5 assists from 16 games helping the Hammers secure an unlikely European spot. His glowing displays earned him a return to Gareth Southgate’s England setup.

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West Ham were heavily interested in signing him permanently over the summer, but the transfer collapsed due to the difference in valuation and player wanting to stay with the Red Devils and fight for his place in the lineup. But with Lingard frustrated with lack of playing time, it’s a high possibility the player might push for a move come this January.

The 28-year-old’s contract at Old Trafford is expiring next summer. Although negotiations are being held in the background, there’s not much room for optimism with the player adamant on regular game-time to boost his prospects of making it into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad next year.

Everton are interested in Lingard as a direct replacement to central attacking midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, who will be allowed to leave the club either in January or at the end of the season. Moreover, with James Rodriguez already leaving town and Dominic Calvert-Lewin facing injury issues, the Blues are thin in attacking options.

For Toffees, Lingard fits the bill perfectly with regards to the player quality and possible availability. Manchester United are understood to be open to offers and have set a £15 million valuation for their asset. Benitez is working under severe budgetary constraints due to the Blues’ previous extravagant spending. Over the summer, he recruited four players on free transfers spending only £1.6 million for Demarai Gray.

Benitez will again be asked to operate with a small transfer kitty in January. The Merseysiders are looking to evade FFP sanctions and intend to pursue a loan-to-buy deal in which Lingard comes on a season-long loan that will turn into a permanent move at the close of the campaign. Only time will tell whether the Toffees can beat off stiff competition for the 28-year-old or not.

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