It will surprise nobody to hear that West Ham are desperate to keep Jesse Lingard around on a permanent deal, but there may be a danger that he’s now playing too well.
Man United do hold all the cards to an extent because he’s still under contract, but they also need to do what’s right for the player so there’s little point in forcing him to stay if he doesn’t want to.
There’s also the danger that his form will attract other sides so a bidding war could be started, and the fear will then be that West Ham are outbid in terms of a transfer fee and probably with the wages on offer too.
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What cannot be underestimated is that Lingard must be relishing his role as a key player in the side so he won’t want to return to the bench, and it’s been suggested by David Ornstein that the Hammers are still in pole position to keep him:
“When West Ham were negotiating with Manchester United to take Jesse Lingard on loan. West Ham tried to see if it was possible to insert an option to buy him, but Manchester United said no.
“I think they had a plan for the short-term and also had him in their mind for the long-term. I also think he has too much love and respect for them to let his contract go down to free agency.
“Therefore I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility that he’s sold this summer, or signs a new contract and ends up being sold.
“I think West Ham pretty obviously would be in the driving seat, owing to what a good time he’s had there, but the way he’s playing there is definitely going to be some rivalry for him.”
It’s a situation that will drag on into the summer so a final answer is still some way off, but it looks like there is hope for West Ham in their efforts to keep him around.