It’s fair to say that West Ham loanee Jesse Lingard has created a strong impression at the start of his spell in East London. Having made the temporary switch from Manchester United, two goals in his first three league games has endeared him to Hammers fans.
It’s the type of return that might make Ole Gunnar Solskjaer take notice but, instead, that strong start has only helped to fuel rumours that the temporary transfer could be turned into a permanent deal.
A Question of Priorities
There may be some issues within the Manchester United squad but scoring goals isn’t one of them. After the first 24 games of the 2020/21 Premier League campaign, the Red Devils had scored more times than anyone else in the division.
With Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford leading the team’s own scoring charts, there is little need for striking reinforcement. While the club may be linked to Erling Haaland, he’s the kind of prolific attacker that few clubs would refuse if he became available.
What appears to be needed is reinforcements at the back where Ole’s men have conceded more times than any team in the top five. All of this means that Jesse Lingard is surplus to requirements and, if he were to return to Old Trafford, he would likely face another frustrating spell on the fringes of the first team.
West Ham may be behind Manchester United in the Premier League table but they have plenty to aim for at this advanced stage of the season. After 24 matches of the campaign, David Moyes’ Hammers were in fifth place, just behind Chelsea on goal difference. A top four finish and a place in the Champions League are legitimate targets for the club and they’re in good shape to achieve that.
According to the leading betting sites, including those that are linked in to sbo.net, West Ham are seventh favourites to finish inside the top four at the end of the season. Big clubs such as Spurs and Chelsea are ahead of them but the Hammers are consistent and they will be a tempting selection here.
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If the Hammers are to achieve their goals, the input of Jesse Lingard may be vital but will the Manchester United man stay in London beyond the end of the season?
Should he Stay or Should he Go?
Jesse Lingard had to leave Old Trafford in order to get more game time and, with Euro 2020 on the horizon, the temporary switch to West Ham was even more important. The attacking midfielder was an important part of the England side that reached the semi-finals of Russia 2018 but, more recently, he’s been on the fringes of Gareth Southgate’s national squad.
While Lingard has been impressive during his stint with West Ham, opinions are divided in relation to his next move. Rio Ferdinand, who played for both West Ham and Manchester United, has said that Lingard should make the switch permanently.
While speaking on the subject, Ferdinand pointed out that West Ham would have failed if they didn’t complete the deal.
Elsewhere, former Spurs and Stoke City striker Garth Crooks suggested that Lingard’s fast start at West Ham underlines a failure on Manchester United’s part. Crooks, who enjoyed a brief loan spell at Old Trafford, said that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needed to take a closer look at his own transfer policy.
Garth Crooks may have a point but it’s hard to see where Jesse Lingard would fit in if he does return to United. The attacking side to the squad has no issues and, with Bruno Fernandes prolific from midfield, it may just be the end of the road for the 28 year old England international.
Another club would definitely benefit from his talent and experience but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Solskjaer has got it wrong over a player that just couldn’t get into a high quality front line.