David Moyes must urge David Sullivan to meet Manchester United’s valuation of Jesse Lingard after reports by Eurosport last week claimed that West Ham will have to pay £20m to retain the midfielder beyond his half-season loan.
Lingard moved to the London Stadium for the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign during the recent winter transfer window and he has proven an instant hit in claret and blue with three goals and two assists in five games.
Man United are said to have always been confident of Lingard being a success in the capital, so they refused West Ham’s request for a permanent clause to be included in his temporary switch.
The Irons are thought to have offered a £15m buyout option on top of the £1.5m loan fee paid to the Red Devils, but they will now be facing a fee upwards of £20m to strike a deal at the end of the season.
Lingard had barely featured for Man United before packing his belongings and leaving Old Trafford earlier this year, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer only awarding the 28-year-old 179 minutes of first-team action across all competitions.
Not a single second of that came in the Premier League with the former England international resigned to a bit-part role in the EFL and FA Cups, but has been trusted to start all five available top-flight fixtures under Moyes while playing 442 of a possible 450 minutes.
Only once has Lingard failed to influence the scoring with the Hammers, too, having struck a brace on debut at Aston Villa and netting once against Tottenham Hotspur, while assisting goals against Sheffield United and Manchester City.
No Irons player has been involved in as many goals since Lingard was given his West Ham bow at Villa Park last month, with Michail Antonio second with two goals and two assists.
Lingard’s efforts in claret and blue saw Arsenal icon Paul Merson wax lyrical during Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday, showering the Man United loanee with praise while addressing West Ham’s hopes of claiming a Champions League qualifying berth.
“I think he is outstanding. You get good reports from his attitude and how good he’s been. I think he’s the difference. If they’re going to get in the top four, he’s their X-factor,” Merson said on the show (27/2, 12:16).
As well as being the Hammers’ ‘X-factor’ and most influential figure during the club’s last five Premier League games, Lingard’s form has returned the best average WhoScored match rating of any West Ham player in the top-flight this term at 7.5 out of 10.
The 24-cap Three Lions international also offers the highest number of average shots per game (3.2), plus the second-most successful dribbles (1.6) to Arthur Masuaku (2.2) and the fourth-most key passes (1).
Moyes would be rather naïve to not urge Sullivan to now pay the extra £5m needed to retain Lingard should he maintain his early form, as West Ham have not seen anywhere near the same output from the likes of Pablo Fornals or Manuel Lanzini.
Fornals has offered 0.7 key passes, 1.2 shots and 0.9 successful dribbles per game in the league this season, while Lanzini has created 0.7 goal-scoring opportunities, taken 0.8 attempts and brought possession up the field with 0.3 successful runs each match.