Manchester United reportedly blocked a clause that would allow West Ham to permanently sign Jesse Lingard, amid the loanee’s impressive start to life at the Hammers.
The 28-year-old had endured a frustrating last 18 months after seeing his game time severely restricted at Old Trafford, particularly following the arrival of fellow creative midfielder Bruno Fernandes.
After featuring just three times in all competitions for United in the first-half of the season, Lingard was allowed to leave the club on loan in January, the attacking midfielder reportedly turning down both West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United in order to move to the London Stadium.
While he only made the loan switch at the end of January, he has already featured more times under David Moyes than he had done with the Red Devils this season, scoring three Premier League goals in four appearances for the Hammers.
Such impressive and vibrant displays – including in the recent win over Tottenham – have unsurprisingly led to talk of joining the club on a permanent basis, although, according to the Times, his parent club blocked a clause that would have allowed Moyes and co to automatically sign him at the end of the season, for a set fee.
In the original negotiations, Manchester United refused to allow any option-to-buy for the player, despite the limited chance of Lingard forcing his way back into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans.
In the end, West Ham were forced to pay a £1.5m loan fee to sign him until the end of the season and will now be left to negotiate once again should they wish him to stay beyond this term.
The England international’s current deal at his boyhood club is set to expire in June 2022, with United keen to move him on for a fee this summer, rather than lose him for nothing next year.
Although it’s early days, he has already made a huge impression on his new fanbase and teammates, with midfielder Declan Rice admitting he hopes that Lingard remains in East London beyond the end of the season.
“Hopefully we can do that for much longer, for next season as well,” Rice said. “He has got a great personality, and the lads have really taken to him.
“He is a ridiculously top player. I knew this from when I played with him with England. He takes the ball on the half-turn, takes the ball in tight areas and relieves the pressure. When you give him the ball on the pitch you know he is going to do something with it.”
West Ham are currently in fourth and could well tempt Lingard into staying with the potential prospect of Champions League football next season.