Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard is said to be hopeful that a strong run of form in next month’s Europa League finale can help him secure an exit from Old Trafford this summer.
The former England international broke the hearts of punters who’d banked on him enduring an incredibly unproductive campaign as he made his first Premier League goal contribution of the season with a last-gasp strike against Leicester on the final day.
It’s been an incredibly tough 12 months for Lingard, with personal issues off the field certainly hampering his form on the pitch. The 27-year-old’s been caring for his 14-year-old brother and 11-year-old sister after their mother, Kirsty, fell ill, while Lingard’s brother, Jasper, was living with him and being homeschooled.
Lingard made just eight Premier League starts last term and barely featured in United’s resurgence following the restart in June – which saw them qualify for next season’s Champions League.
The Englishman currently has just one year left on his £100,000-a-week deal, and although The Times understands that Lingard isn’t pursuing an exit from Manchester, he’s expected to depart either this summer or when his contract expires at the end of the 2020/21 campaign – providing the club don’t extend his deal by a further year.
Nevertheless, Lingard is said to be keen on using the upcoming conclusion to the Europa League as a showcase to potential suitors. Roma and Borussia Monchengladbach reportedly hold an interest in acquiring the United man’s services, while Newcastle United are also understood to be keen on a transfer.
A post on Lingard’s Instagram page, however, would suggest that staying at Old Trafford would be his ultimate preference. The academy graduate posted that he’ll ‘continue to keep working harder than ever to help this team achieve its goals’, also acknowledging that he had been ‘lost’ as a ‘player and person’ but had been ‘working harder’ than ever before to get back to being himself.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to deploy a weakened side for the second leg of United’s round of 16 tie with LASK – in which they hold a 5-0 lead – and Lingard will likely get plenty of chances to shine in the rounds that follow.
In any event, Lingard’s future will have to go on the backburner for now – but that won’t stop the speculation over what he’ll do next from doing the rounds.