The Hammers are believed to still be at the front of the queue to sign the Englishman, despite reported stumbling blocks which are holding up the deal.
According to 90min’s Toby Cudworth, Irons manager David Moyes is still keen to press ahead with a deal for the 29-year-old, albeit with Premier League rivals Everton also said to be weighing up an offer.
Writing on Twitter about the ongoing situation, the journalist stated: “Everton considering a move for #WHUFC target Jesse Lingard. Officially a free agent after leaving Man Utd, he has still not decided where to go next. West Ham still leading the chase, David Moyes wants it done.”
In the corresponding article, the report from 90min suggests that the east Londoners are set to make the 32-cap playmaker one of the ‘highest paid players’ at the club, although reports to the contrary insist that his sizeable wage demands could be problematic.
The versatile forward’s lengthy association with the Red Devils came to an end on Friday following the expiry of his contract, with the Old Trafford outfit having confirmed his expected exit at the start of the month.
It had looked as if it would be a relatively straightforward signing to bring Lingard back to the London Stadium, with it having almost been an open secret in the final few months of last season that he would not be signing a contract extension at Old Trafford.
However, it is proving far more complicated to ensure that the Irons can come to an agreement with the £16.2m-rated dynamo, although supporters will no doubt love to hear that Moyes and co are still the frontrunners to sign the fleet-footed ace.
The suggestion is that a reunion with the Hammers is the player’s ‘first choice’ option this summer, having previously shone during a loan stint at the club throughout the second half of the 2020/21 season.
That temporary spell saw the England international net nine goals and provide four assists in just 16 league games, notably scoring an outrageous solo goal in a win over Wolves which truly rubberstamped his career rejuvenation.
It has been a dismal period since his return to Manchester, having at one stage looked set on joining West Ham permanently last summer, with the £80k-per-week man starting just two league games during the 2021/22 campaign.
A rare high point was his stunning strike in a win over Moyes’ side at the London Stadium in September, with that curling effort serving as a reminder as to the quality that he undoubtedly possesses.
Supporters will be hoping that he can repeat such magic in a claret and blue jersey next term, with excitement no doubt brewing that a deal is potentially on its way to being struck.