Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is adamant that Manchester United want to tie Jesse Lingard down to a new contract, amid speculation linking the midfielder with a move away from the club.
The 28-year-old has less than a year remaining on his existing deal, opening up the possibility that he could depart for nothing at the end of the season, or be moved on for a cut-price fee in January, should he opt not to sign an extension.
Recent reports have suggested that he has already turned down one contract offer from the club, with the Englishman seemingly seeking a guarantee of regular game time, as he looks to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s plans ahead of next year’s World Cup in Qatar.
The Manchester United academy product narrowly missed out on a place in the Three Lions’ 26-man squad for Euro 2020, despite having enjoyed a fine end to the season on-loan at West Ham United, in which he scored nine goals and registered four assists in just 16 league games.
The midfielder had been linked with a return to the London Stadium over the summer, yet has since returned to the first-team fold at Old Trafford, where he has made a notable impact despite being restricted to brief, cameo appearances off the bench.
He has scored the fourth in the 4-1 win over Newcastle United earlier this season, while also netting a stunner against the Hammers to clinch a 2-1 victory, before going on to provide a crucial assist for Cristiano Ronaldo’s stoppage-time winner against Villarreal in the Champions League.
Despite those key involvements, Lingard has still only started once this season – against David Moyes’ side in the Carabao Cup – with that fuelling the speculation that he could be on the move in the near future, amid reported interest from the likes of Barcelona and AC Milan.
Ahead of United’s clash with Leicester City on Saturday, Solskjaer has insisted that the club are keen to hand the player a new contract, while the Norwegian also admitted that Lingard has perhaps deserved more game time than he is currently being afforded.
“We want to prolong his contract because we see him as an important player for us,” said Solskjaer at a press conference.
“It’s up to him – and maybe up to me – to give him more playing time because he deserves to.
“Hopefully, we can get a deal sorted for Jesse because we really rate him.”