Ahead of the January transfer window, Manchester United could be preparing to bid farewell to midfielder Jesse Lingard.
According to a recent report from The Times, contract talks between the Red Devils and Lingard have collapsed – paving the way for the Englishman to move on in the near future.
Lingard, 28, has been a Manchester United player his entire career.
After signing up to the club’s youth academy all the way back in 2000, despite enjoying several successful loan spells, Lingard has been a mainstay in and around the Red Devils’ senior first-team for the majority of his career.
However, following the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer three years ago, Lingard has seen his playing time dwindle over time.
Continually frozen out by Solskjaer, last winter saw the England international loaned out to West Ham United, where he enjoyed a hugely successful short-term spell back under the guidance of David Moyes.
However, now back with Manchester United, Lingard, whose contract expires next summer, is not expected to sign a new deal and will instead look to move on in January.
Although West Ham United are likely to have an interest given how impactful his spell was last season, another club is being tipped to make a move.
Speaking to Football Insider, former manager Alex McLeish has predicted that newly taken over Newcastle United may look to offer Lingard an escape from his Old Trafford nightmare.
“Lingard went to West Ham and the expectation was lifted a wee bit from his shoulders,” McLeish said. “Those expectations were of him being a Man United player. He showed the form that we’ve seen when he got his England caps.
“I think the guy’s got to be playing. He’s got to be playing every week in order to fulfil his career. It wouldn’t surprise me if Newcastle made a move for him.
“It’s not too far away at all. He’s certainly capable. I think that pressure, knowing what he did at West Ham, reinforces his belief in himself.”
Despite the uncertainty surrounding Lingard’s future, Solskjaer, who spoke ahead of his side’s Premier League match against Watford (as quoted by MEN), has reaffirmed the midfielder’s importance to the team.
“Jesse is training really hard, really well and he’s ready and available for me,” Solskjaer told reporters on Friday. “Disappointed he’s not playing more. In regards to contract situations and talks, I’ve not been in them very closely. For me, Jesse is still a big part of this squad and important and he gives quality to the group every day.
“Every player wants to play as much as poss, with Jesse and all my players. They’re working really hard, can’t fault the attitude when they’re called upon. Jesse has done well when he’s played for us and with the games coming up he’s going to play a part.”