Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Jesse Lingard: What next for the United outcast?

Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard has endured a torrid time of it in the 2019/20 season. As such, he’s been somewhat left behind by the Old Trafford club – but what comes next?

Rewind the clock to summer 2018, Jesse Lingard is in the England world cup squad, coming off the back of one of his best seasons to date. He even managed to score a brilliant goal against Panama.

Now though, he’s stood on the outskirts of the Manchester United team, worried about what the future holds. He’s made 20 appearances this season in the league, starting the game on less than half of those occasions.

With the arrival of Bruno Fernandes and the emergence of the talented youngster Mason Greenwood, Lingard is left looking around a little, wondering where his next match start is coming from.

As transfer speculation at Old Trafford intensifies, players like Jack Grealish and James Maddison have been linked repeatedly. Both of whom are moves that would no doubt see Lingard relegated even further down the pecking order in the North West.

One of the main reasons Lingard has been left behind somewhat this term has been his lack of output. In his 20 Premier League appearances, Lingard hasn’t registered a single goal or assist.

In the Europe League he’s managed to nab one goal and one assist while he also got a goal in the FA Cup, meaning he has a grand total of four goal involvements in 35 appearances across all competitions.

As a result, the United faithful have begun to grow increasingly frustrated with the 27-year-old.

He’s entering the peak of his career, but has never been less effective in his performances. When you hit a brick wall in the way he has, the only way to rectify it is to make a significant change. In this case, the likely scenario is a change of scenery.

Lingard most certainly needs to sit down with his agent this summer and take a long look at the offers on the table – which I’m in no doubt there’ll be a few of. While form has been poor of late, he’s still a supremely talented footballer and, as such, he’ll have options both at home and abroad.

The media pressure in the UK might leave Lingard thinking about a move abroad, but the Premier League is still the place to be. If he wants continuous game-time and an opportunity to prove himself, the 27-year-old might need to look to the lower reaches of the division.

Teams such as Palace and Brighton, while not exactly flashy destinations wherein he’ll earn a fortune and win trophies, will offer him game-time and an opportunity to show he’s still a man you want in your team. Even a one-year loan deal to a club like that could do wonders for his career.

However, Lingard recently signed his talents to the books of football super-agent Mino Raiola meaning that, whatever his next move is, it’ll be high-profile. Although I think time out of the limelight and at a team like Palace would be good for him, if Raiola’s got anything to do with it, that will not happen.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lingard end up moving to another big name club this summer. Arsenal have been linked of late and, to be honest, it’s a move I can see happening – similar to the way Danny Welbeck made the shift to North London back in 2014.

Either that, or he’ll somehow end up at Juventus or will reunite with Romelu Lukaku in Milan. For now though, it seems clear that his future does NOT lie with Manchester United. Personally, I think that can only be a good thing.

For more like this, visit the dedicated opinions page here. Meanwhile, follow us on Twitter for more coverage of United.

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