Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard has reportedly turned down the offer of a new contract from his boyhood club.
According to ESPN’s Rob Dawson, the 28-year-old rejected the fresh terms as he seeks assurances about his first-team prospects at Old Trafford.
Lingard has entered the final year of his current deal with United and has been presented with the opportunity to extend his stay in the red half of Manchester, but concerns over game time have seen him reject the hierarchy’s initial approach.
The Red Devils risk losing the England international on a free transfer next summer if an agreement cannot be reached and he’ll be free to begin negotiating with foreign clubs as early as January.
Lingard has contributed a very respectable 33 goals and 20 assists in 211 appearances for United since graduating through the club’s youth academy.
However, he found opportunities hard to come by under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and moved to West Ham United on loan halfway through last season.
In just 16 Premier League outings for the capital club, Lingard notched up an incredible nine goals, laying on a further five assists for his teammates, playing a pivotal part in their fabulous sixth-placed finish.
Despite interest from a selection of other clubs from England’s top-flight and abroad this summer, Solskjaer was keen to retain Lingard’s services, despite the arrival of Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo.
He may already be regretting the decision not to seek pastures new, though, after only being awarded four minutes worth of action in the opening three league games of the new campaign.
Dawson’s report states that: “The 28-year-old is determined to find regular football in order to keep his place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“He narrowly missed out on a place in the squad for Euro 2020 as England made it all the way to the final but returned to the team for the 4-0 win over Andorra on Sunday, scoring twice and recording an assist.”
With Lingard currently unwilling to put pen to paper, Solskjaer risks losing a very useful player and potentially valuable asset for free, something that will surely concern the Norwegian.
It remains to be seen whether the versatile ace has a change of heart or finally leaves United on a permanent basis, and many clubs will watching how this situation unfolds with a keen eye.