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wanted man Manchester United to bump up fee for in-demand star Lingard


Loan star: Jesse Lingard celebrates another goal for West Ham at the weekend

Loan star: Jesse Lingard celebrates another goal for West Ham at the weekend

Loan star: Jesse Lingard celebrates another goal for West Ham at the weekend

Manchester United intend to wait until the end of the season before negotiating Jesse Lingard’s future.

Lingard’s form during his loan at West Ham has led to an unexpected level of interest in the 28-year-old (below), who has one season left on his contract after this campaign.

West Ham manager David Moyes wants to sign him permanently, but United have given no indication that they will sell. No talks have taken place, although Lingard’s representatives have made it clear that he will not be used as a makeweight in any deal for Declan Rice should United pursue the midfielder.

It may also suit West Ham to discover whether they are playing Champions League football next season before making an offer for a player who would expect his wages to remain at £100,000 (€115,000) a week.

Lingard signed for West Ham at the end of the January window for a loan fee of £2.5 million with a bonus of £500,000 due to United should West Ham qualify for Europe. West Ham are covering Lingard’s wages in full until June 30, but were not allowed an “option to buy” in the contract.

Lingard has been a resounding success, scoring eight times in nine games – including two goals against Leicester City on Sunday as Moyes’s side have moved into the Premier League’s top four. His form has also earned him an England recall, and he featured in all three World Cup qualifiers last month.

There is understood to be interest in Lingard from other Premier League clubs, including Arsenal and Leicester, while Jose Mourinho, if he remains Tottenham Hotspur’s head coach, would consider a move.

Sources close to Lingard have indicated overseas clubs, led by Atletico Madrid, are monitoring the situation.

United might still offer Lingard a new deal, although it appears highly likely that he will want to leave in search of regular first-team football. If United refuse to sell, they risk Lingard going into the final year of his deal and leaving for free next summer. Lingard’s form has not just raised the level of interest in him but will also increase the price United would demand, although he has featured little for them under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

A fee of £30 million (€35m) has been mooted, but that seems high given Lingard’s contract situation, age and the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The fear for United is letting him go, especially for a lower fee, and watching him continue to excel elsewhere.

Solskjaer has indicated he is open to keeping Lingard, although it remains unlikely he will want to return to United.

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