Aston Villa made an approach for Manchester United star Jesse Lingard in the summer transfer window.
Reports in recent weeks and months had suggested that Dean Smith’s side were ready to rival fellow Premier League outfit West Ham in a move for the England international.
Now, The Times have delivered an update on Lingard’s situation, name-checking Villa as one of the teams who registered their interest in luring Lingard away from Old Trafford.
The report adds that the midfielder has in fact rejected a new contract offer from United over concerns over playing time this season, and that he is ready to run down his deal unless he is given assurances by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Lingard’s current contract comes to an end next summer, meaning that he would be able to leave on a free transfer, and what a bargain that would be for Johan Lange and co at Villa.
After joining West Ham back in the January transfer window on a short-term loan, Lingard racked up an incredible nine goals and four assists in just his first ten Premier League games for the club – it was no surprise then that he was lauded as being “absolutely phenomenal“.
The England international’s ability to score goals from midfield is something which could add a different dimension at Villa, and it’s a knack that Michael Carrick was quick to praise back at Old Trafford.
The United coach said: “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.”
His performances with the Hammers showcased the kind of impact the £75k-a-week earning star can have when he’s on song and the confidence is flowing through his veins.
Giving him an opportunity to shine at Villa, where the spotlight is understandably less than somewhere like United, could offer him the kind of freedom that sees him become a really consistent performer and break back into the England side under Gareth Southgate.
He’s a player the club must surely go back in for after their initial summer approach. Given that he would be available on a free once the season ends, or for a knock-down price in January, Villa could strike gold either way.