Jesse Lingard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are in a tug-of-war over the future of the Manchester United midfielder, sources told ESPN.
Lingard is desperate to find regular first-team football after just three appearances this season. Solskjaer is okay with the 28-year-old’s situation but would like to keep him at Old Trafford this month as he prepares for a busy second half of the season with games in three competitions.
– Stream LIVE games and reruns on ESPN + (US only)
United have been exercising a one-year extension on Lingard’s contract that will keep him at the club until 2022, but he remains interested in playing regularly after dropping the pecking order under Solskjaer.
He impressed from the start in the 1-0 win over Watford in the third round of the FA Cup, but was excluded from the squad for the following two games against Burnley and Liverpool. His only other start to the season was the 3-0 win against Luton in the Carabao Cup in September.
Lingard, capped 24 times by England and a starter in the 2018 World Cup, has many applicants in the Premier League and abroad. Marseille, Porto, Inter Milan, Nice, Tottenham Hotspur, Sheffield United and West Ham United have all registered an interest, but United has not yet given a definitive answer on whether the former academic is available.
Solskjaer has already allowed Timothy Fosu-Mensah to join Bayer Leverkusen and has given Marcos Rojo and Sergio Romero permission to speak to other clubs – and the Norwegian is well aware that he is facing a hectic Premier League schedule in January lost too many squad players. FA Cup and Europa League until May.
United could play up to 34 games before the end of the season if they reach the FA Cup and Europa League finals.
Solskjaer and Lingard, who broke up with Agent Mino Raiola in November and are now represented by family members, have enjoyed a good relationship and the United boss was impressed with Lingard’s commitment and dedication to training despite being out of the team, as sources reported to ESPN that Lingard consistently outperforms performance data stats in training.