Manchester United have got their transfer business off to a flying start this year. Having added Timothy Fosu-Mensah to the list of players departing from Old Trafford, Ed Woodward has started to create some space in the squad for new additions. However there is still much more to be done if the Red Devils are to reduce their wage bill and bring in more quality signings.
According to Sky Sports, French side Nice have reportedly held talks with Jesse Lingard’s representatives over a possible loan move in January.
It’s claimed the French Ligue 1 club have held initial discussions and an formal offer is expected to arrive next week, although it remains to be seen if the Red Devils will allow him to depart Old Trafford halfway through the season.
Lingard made his first-team debut in the 2-1 defeat to Swansea City under former United manager Louis van Gaal in 2014 and has since gone on to make over 200 appearances for his boyhood club.
But chances have been hard to come by for the 28-year-old this season, as he has been restricted to just two starts so far and hasn’t started in a Premier League game for over a year – a clear sign that he isn’t offering Ole Gunnar Solskjaer anything at the current moment in time.
With the 18-year-old Amad Diallo’s arrival at Old Trafford from Serie A side Atalanta this month, it seems like Lingard’s services are no longer required.
United have an abundance of quality and depth in almost every area with their current squad intact, none more so than the wealth of riches currently available to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The club’s official website currently lists 13 first-team players in the midfield, and that’s without even mentioning the likes of Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani upfront.
Considering that the club were heavily linked with a £100m move for Jadon Sancho in the summer, it’s safe to assume that Lingard has been deemed surplus to requirements, as the former England international has been limited to solely three cup appearances this season – which is even fewer than his teammates Daniel James and Juan Mata.
In actual fact, in a similar way to Fosu-Mensah, Lingard could leave the club without requiring any replacement. Bruno Fernandes and Greenwood have become regular starters in the Premier League, meaning his options are limited once more, as he has fallen even further down the pecking order.
Peter Schmeichel certainly didn’t pull any punches when he appeared to take aim at Lingard after a number of poor performances in 2018. He told MUTV’s Group Chat, via talkSPORT: “I’m on record for saying this a long, long time, since Ole came, that his most important job is not really to sign players, it’s to get rid of players.
“There’s a few players in the squad that we absolutely do not want there.
“They’re not there to play for the badge. They’re there to create a profile for themselves.
“I was reading about one player trying to make themself a brand like Beckham which is shocking really. But there are players there that do not belong in the dressing room.”
Whilst he didn’t specifically mention Lingard, one would have to assume it was the right winger who drew Schmeichel’s ire. After all, he earned the wrath of fellow club legends Gary Neville and Roy Keane for launching a clothing line days before the Liverpool clash in 2018.
Given he earns around £100,000-per-week at Old Trafford, it’s fair to say that Lingard has outlived his purpose, as Greenwood has emerged as a reliable option on the right wing while James, too, has started to show flashes of his obvious potential, and that’s without even mentioning Diallo and Facundo Pellistri, who are waiting in the wings as well.
It has left Solskjaer with several options out wide and although the Norwegian needs two wingers in his preferred 4-2-3-1, Ed Woodward must offload a couple of his options in the coming weeks and months ahead. Lingard, therefore, should be the one to accompany Fosu-Mensah out the Old Trafford exit door.