According to TEAMtalk, Aston Villa transfer target Jesse Lingard is ready to leave Manchester United in the upcoming January window.
The England international has been a peripheral figure at Old Trafford this season, with the signing of Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek further dropping him down the pecking order – in fact, he’s made just two appearances in total, and both of them came in the Carabao Cup.
Now, TEAMtalk claim that Lingard – who has been touted as a potential option for Villa recently – is ready to ask United to let him leave the club in January unless they exercise their option on him before the end of the year.
The 27-year-old’s current contract comes to an end in the summer, and would thus be able to leave on a free transfer, but it appears he is ready to cut ties with United much sooner than that.
Whilst Lingard’s wretched form over the past couple of seasons in particular has seen his career take a nosedive – he’s managed just five Premier League goals since the start of the 2018/2019 campaign – it doesn’t detract from the fact Villa could potentially revive a player who’s made 24 appearances for England.
Dean Smith has already shown he has the Midas touch with the way he has revitalised Ross Barkley, another promising England talent who seemed to be floundering at Chelsea.
Sometimes, all it takes is a change of scenery and a fresh start for a player to get back to their best, and current United coach Michael Carrick has gone on record to reveal his admiration of the kind of “unique” abilities Lingard has.
He said: “I think his movement is excellent. It’s something that sounds quite simple, but it’s difficult to defend against. He senses where the space is and how to use it. I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s a dribbler with skills and tricks but he’s dynamic.
“How he plays, he is unique in some ways. You don’t see so much of that now as everyone wants to get on the ball. Off the ball, he’s very effective.”
He may be a £100k-a-week outcast at Old Trafford, but Villa could land a shock bargain by getting Lingard on the cheap.