Jesse Lingard has reportedly turned down Manchester United’s latest offer of a contract extension because of his fears over playing time.
The Warrington-born attacker has struggled to win a regular place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s emerging side, often finding himself on the periphery of first-team action.
And his prospects of increased game time are unlikely to have improved since the club’s high-profile acquisitions of Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho this summer.
ESPN now reports that, with competition among attacking places as intense as it’s been for the best part of a decade, Lingard will demand assurances over his future before he’ll consider committing to an extended stay.
The 28-year-old is in the last 12 months of his existing Old Trafford deal, so is free to discuss terms with interested foreign clubs from January ’22.
Last season the former Academy star went out on loan in a bid to revive his career, and duly reminded fans of his undoubted quality during a 4-month spell with West Ham.
In his 16 eye-catching games as a Hammer, he scored nine goals, provided four assists, and was named Premier League Player of the Month for April.
His rejuvenation under David Moyes meant that he came extremely close to breaking into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Euro 2020.
Although his East London hot streak wasn’t quite enough to cement a place in the England setup, it did ensure that his future remained a hot topic over the summer.
Despite being regularly linked with a permanent move away from Old Trafford, the near-constant speculation failed to result in a credible bid, leaving Lingard in a battle to prove his worth in Manchester.
While he’s only managed a four-minute cameo at club level this season, he was back in the headlines following England’s recent win over Andorra, scoring two goals and providing an assist in a 4-0 rout.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stated that Lingard is still a big part of his plans but it appears the player himself will need some convincing if he’s going to commit to an extended stay with his boyhood club.