Jesse Lingard is in high demand as the January transfer window edges to within four weeks of opening.
The England man has seen little first team action under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Michael Carrick this season despite an excellent spell at West Ham in the second part of 2020/21 that saw him recalled to the England squad.
The Hammers made no secret of the fact they wanted to keep Lingard but United’s reported £30 million asking price was too rich for their blood and the player returned to Old Trafford at the end of the season.
But that lack of playing time has left him unsettled and he has not signed a new contract with the Red Devils with his current deal expiring in June.
And the Hammers would seem to remain keen. Boss David Moyes is regularly fielding press conference questions about a possible move for the 28-year-old in January and is doing little to dispel the rumours.
“I can’t really talk about him because he’s a Manchester United player and it’s not for me to talk,” Moyes said (via Goal.com), before continuing to talk about him.
“But he was really good for us. Jesse knows what we all think of him here. My disappointment for Jesse would be, I think he’s such a talented football player and he’s not playing.
“People might have thought Jesse made a difference here. But the players have moved on and stepped to another level themselves. But I’ve got to say, Jesse was a big part of that.”
However, the London club’s hopes of getting a cut-price January deal could be dashed as the nouveau-riche Newcastle have also well and truly thrown their hat into the ring.
According to The Times, the Magpies have made Lingard “their priority in the January transfer window and are prepared to offer a deal that will make him the highest earner in the club’s history.”
The report claims that “Talks have already taken place with Lingard’s advisers and he has been offered a 4½-year deal significantly in excess of the £100,000-a-week salary of the club’s present top earner, Miguel Almirón.
“Newcastle are ready to offer a substantial transfer fee for the England international, despite the short amount of time left on his contract. United risk losing the 28-year-old for nothing if they do not sell him in January.
“Eddie Howe, the Newcastle head coach, has remained coy on the subject of movement in the transfer window, aware that the side will have had to show some form before then to tempt high-profile signings.”
United bosses will be rubbing their hands with glee that Lingard might still provide them with a decent payday at this stage by sparking a bidding war.
Of course, it could be that incoming manager Ralf rangnick wants to keep the academy graduate at Old Trafford but with a squad blessed with attacking talent, using the funds from his sale to land a top class defensive midfielder could be seen as a higher priority.