Now that David Moyes has committed his future to the club for the next three years, now attention turns to whether Jesse Lingard will choose to do the same.
It’s no secret that the 28-year-old is priority number one for Moyes and West Ham this summer, after he scored nine and assisted five in 16 Premier League appearances for the Hammers last term.
He played a huge role in us securing our first top-six finish in 22 years, and very quickly became a fan favourite and cult hero as a result. No one knew it at the time, but Lingard was the kind of player we were crying out for in the second-half of the season but, the question now is whether we can do a deal with Man United to bring him back on a permanent deal.
Despite The Sun recently claiming the midfielder wants to stay at Old Trafford, Football Insider have reported that he is open to a permanent switch to east London, albeit with a bigger contract to the one he current has at United.
So the reality is, no one other than Lingard really knows what he’s thinking this summer, and it’s too difficult to tell what might happen in the coming weeks and months, as Moyes attempts to build a squad capable of competing in the Europa League.
But Peterborough United Director of Football, Barry Fry, believes Lingard will not be interested in staying at Man United because he’s not guaranteed playing time there, whereas West Ham have already shown that he has an important role to play for them.
In an interview with This Is Futbol, Fry said: “He [Lingard] never got a look in at Man United, so Moyes has done him proud to bring him in. He’s played him from the start, which is absolutely amazing because he hadn’t had any game time at all at Man United.
“But of course, Moyes was at Man United so he knew the boy personally. Moyes just said ‘go out there and enjoy yourself,’ and he had a lot of faith in him. Lingard has repaid that faith by putting in some outstanding performances.
“Jesse Lingard will want to play and he isn’t going to play at Man United. He’s got one year left next year and he won’t be interested in whatever they [Man United] offer him, he’ll want to play and I think for Moyes he’ll be top of the list.
“He’ll want to join Moyesy because he knows he’ll play, he gets the best out of him and it’s just whether they can come up with the numbers that Man United will require.”
It’s obvious that Lingard will get more playing time next season if he returned to West Ham, but let’s not forget that he is a Manchester United fan and it will be tough for him to accept if he is told he doesn’t have a future at Old Trafford.
If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leaves the door even slightly ajar for Lingard to get some game time for his boyhood club next season, then it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise he does choose to stay.
That said, he quite clearly enjoyed his time in east London and very quickly adapted to life in the capital, so a permanent move wouldn’t exactly be a move into the unknown for him – he knows the area, the club, the players, the manager and the fans.
It’ll be interesting to see how this story develops in the coming weeks. Fingers crossed he’s lining up for us on the opening day of the 2021/22 season.