Ralf Rangnick has discussed the decision to keep Jesse Lingard at Manchester United after the club turned down approaches for the midfielder in the January transfer window.
Lingard had expressed a desire to leave the club during the transfer window after struggling for opportunities this season, the 29-year-old having failed to start a Premier League fixture in 2021/22.
West Ham and Newcastle both saw approaches to sign the England international – who is out of contract in the summer – turned down before the deadline and Rangnick has opened up on the Red Devils’ decision to reject the advances.
“Three weeks ago, Jesse didn’t want to leave, then he changed his mind,” Rangnick said at his pre-match press conference ahead of United’s FA Cup clash with Middlesbrough tomorrow.
“I had a chat with him 10 days ago and I could fully understand why he wanted to leave to get game time for his future and the World Cup, and I told him if he finds a club and the club find a solution with our club I would allow him to leave. But with all the developments, things changed.
“We also had no agreement with any other club so we had to take a final decision as the board and keep Jesse until the end of the season.”
Rangnick admitted that the arrest of Mason Greenwood was a factor in the decision, with the forward having been suspended indefinitely amid allegations including rape and threats to kill.
🗣 "The club told me they couldn't find an agreement with any of those clubs that were interested in him."
Ralf Rangnick says there was an attempt to allow Jesse Lingard to leave on loan but an agreement couldn't be reached pic.twitter.com/JC7HgjfVwT
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 3, 2022
Having already granted the likes of Donny van de Beek, Anthony Martial and Amad Diallo loan moves, Lingard will remain a part of United’s plans over the remainder of the season.
Rangnick did, however, insist that no club had met the Red Devils’ demands for the midfielder.
“In a way, yes [Greeenwood’s arrest was a factor], but the club told me, the board told me, that they couldn’t find an agreement with any clubs interested in him.
“With the window closing Monday evening the board informed me they would rather he stay, so I could understand and accept.
“It was two things. We had a problem with Mason Greenwood and being without a player for the time being who hasn’t played in weeks and the club not finding an agreement with another club.”
Rangnick said that Lingard had requested a few days off to “clear his mind” and was expected to return to training on Monday, while Paul Pogba was due to make his long-awaited return to the side.
“Yes, Paul [Pogba] will be part of the group he might even be in the starting XI. Edi Cavani will only return at the weekend, he contacted me at the weekend and asked to have two more days at home, I knew he couldn’t be in starting XI with jet lag.
“Victor Lindelof has been ill the whole week and not training, the same is true with Jesse, he asked if we could give him a couple of days off to clear his mind. He will be back in training on Monday and part of the whole squad.
“Eric Bailly came back [from the AFCON] yesterday, he has some problems with his ankle and will not be part of the squad. Luke [Shaw] will be playing because Alex Telles played 90 minutes for Brazil.”