Ahead of the January transfer window, West Brom were linked with a move for the out-of-favour Jesse Lingard and the Midlands outfit may need to strike soon if they are to stand a chance of securing him.
Indeed, The Mirror named the Baggies among several top-flight teams interested in signing him on loan last month as he enters the final six months of his contract.
But now this week, Sky Sports have claimed that Lingard’s representatives have held initial discussions with Ligue 1 outfit Nice with an official approach likely in the coming seven days.
It leaves Albion’s sporting director Luke Dowling with a decision to make otherwise he risks letting a mooted target go elsewhere.
Sam Allardyce should ultimately be keen to add someone of Lingard’s pedigree considering he’s crying out for experience and despite only being 27, he’s featured 133 times in the Premier League, and that’s ignoring his 39 appearances in UEFA’s European competitions, per Transfermarkt.
Not to mention the fact that he’s won an FA Cup, League Cup and a Europa League trophy too.
The winger has enjoyed many a battle against West Brom too, contributing towards three goals from four appearances against them, including one game that saw him terrorise current captain Jake Livermore in the no.10 role back in 2017/18.
Lingard scored and made 91% of his passes and enjoyed 56 touches, which was more than the usually-influential Marcus Rashford. As a result, the Baggies skipper managed the game’s lowest rating (6.2) per SofaScore – he simply couldn’t contain him, managing to win just one of six duels.
That versatility could also prove vital to Big Sam as he’s able to play anywhere behind the striker and let’s be honest, you can’t continually rely on Matheus Pereira as the sole creative outlet.
Adding depth in this department could be game-changing for their survival fortunes, which is why Lingard should be atop their priorities, even more so if this Nice rumour is to be believed.
What is also great about the United outcast is the fact that he’d offer something different too, as seen by Michael Carrick’s praise. He dubbed the England international a “unique” talent, claiming: “I think his movement – he moves off the ball very well. It’s something that sounds quite simple, but it’s difficult to defend against.”
Valued at just £9m by Transfermarkt, Lingard’s reported wages of £75k-per-week could prove to be a major stumbling block, though they do have room for one more domestic loan and that would certainly suit the coffers at the Hawthorns.
The Telegraph’s John Percy warned against any permanent fees in excess of £2m this window.
He’s versatile, creative and has the experience Allardyce is longing for, a swoop for Lingard this month would make the world of sense for Albion, and someone of this quality could well revive them from their floundering plight.
Dowling must sanction this move.
AND in other news, West Brom can finally replace Nathan Ferguson with £65k-p/w “top player”…