David Sullivan must pull out all the stops to ensure West Ham sign Manchester United loanee Jesse Lingard in a permanent deal this summer.
According to Sky Sports, the Irons will do ‘whatever it takes’ to see Lingard remain at the London Stadium following his sensational spell under David Moyes.
Lingard joined the Hammers until the end of the season on loan during the winter transfer market, in a deal that does not include any purchase clauses.
West Ham have been extremely impressed by how Lingard has taken to Moyes’ tactics and the performances he has delivered, and now intend to work on a deal that sees the England international join permanently.
A senior Irons source is claimed to have told Sky Sports that the east London outfit will “do whatever it takes” to sign the 28-year-old, who has six goals in eight Premier League games for the club to date.
Only Tomas Soucek (9), Michail Antonio (7) and Jarrod Bowen (7) have scored more for West Ham in the top-flight this term than Lingard, despite the Red Devils product featuring substantially less often.
Lingard’s Man of the Match display against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday also helped to see West Ham move fourth in the Premier League standings, having dribbled 60-yards to open the scoring and played a key role in Pablo Fornals soon doubling the lead.
West Ham had sought to include a £15m permanent clause in their £1.5m agreement with Manchester United during negotiations in January, but were denied as the Old Trafford natives believed his performances could see his value exceed £20m.
It remains to be seen if West Ham are indeed willing to do ‘whatever it takes’ to sign Lingard permanently, following reports by The Sun over the weekend that claimed Manchester United could demand as much as £40m.
A valuation of more than double the buy clause the Hammers reportedly offered in January would be very questionable, though, as Lingard will only have one year remaining on his £100,000-per-week contract come June.
Lingard – who Alan Shearer claims has been “sensational” – will not be expected to sign new terms at Old Trafford anytime soon, either, given claims that he will only return to his parent club if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is prepared to offer him a regular role in his plans.
Moyes has already offered Lingard a regular role in his plans, with the midfield maestro starting all eight available Premier League games since his mid-season arrival at the London Stadium.
His run in the Hammers side has also seen Lingard score in three successive top-flight fixtures for the first time in his career, and has proven to be the division’s most influential player since debuting against Aston Villa.
No player has been involved in more Premier League goals than Lingard (6 scored, 3 assisted) since February 3, a run that has seen the Irons also claim 17 of a possible 27 points – only Manchester City (30/33) and Chelsea (18/27) have registered more.
Lingard’s influence makes it a no-brainer for Sullivan to pull out all the stops to keep him at West Ham long-term, providing Manchester United do not demand heaven and earth to do a deal for a player Declan Rice loves.
“Jesse is a top player. I knew this from when I played with him for England – he’s a ridiculously top, top player,” Rice told talkSPORT in February.
“All the lads have really taken to him and I’m so happy we’ve got him here now at West Ham. Hopefully, we can do that for much longer for next season as well!”
AND in other news, West Ham dodged a £32m bullet in a 2017 deal dubbed a “real coup”…