Over the summer, while West Ham were busy making transfers, the rumour mill was also hard at work with reports circulating the media that Jesse Lingard would return to West Ham after his stint with Nottingham Forest, where he signed a one-year contract in July 2022 after his contract with Manchester United expired. However, until this week, reports of Lingard’s return to David Moyes’ first team were just rumours, but now, with leaked photos of a behind-closed-doors friendly against Ipswich, it has been confirmed that there is merit to these rumours.
Despite star player Declan Rice leaving West Ham for Arsenal over the summer, the Hammers have started the 2023/24 Premier League season well, beating Chelsea and Brighton with 3-1 victories. Even though West Ham’s odds on the Premier League are not the best, with the team having 150/1 to win the league compared to Manchester City, who have odds of 4/9, the potential to get top four and the Champion’s League is still a visible dream for the Hammers; the return of Jesse Lingard may help make that happen. Lingard played 16 games in the 2020/21 season for the Hammers during his loan spell from Manchester United and scored nine goals and bagged five assists. And on September 7th, the 30-year-old was pictured once again in claret and blue during a behind-closed-doors friendly against Championship side Ipswich.
According to reports, both sides agreed that no photos or videos would be taken of the game, but Joe Davis, a multimedia journalist, shared the image on Twitter, which now has nearly 10,000 views. While we have no confirmed reports on Lingard’s fitness or his impact on the friendly game, it is now clear that David Moyes is seriously considering bringing Lingard back to West Ham, and rightfully so: Lingard’s influence on the team was immense and immediate during his loan spell. However, reports are circulating about his lack of fitness, and we know other clubs in Europe are interested in signing the midfielder, so Lingard’s return is still in the air. With that said, West Ham’s top four campaign this season will be influenced by many of the other new signings, including Edson Alvarez, Sean Moore, and, notably, James Ward-Prowse. The former Southhampton captain, who had been with the side since playing for the youth academy, signed for the Hammers in August 2023 on a four-year contract and had a dream debut against Chelsea, assisting two goals in their 3-1 victory and then scoring his first goal for West Ham a few days later against Brighton, which also saw a final score of 3-1.
It’s still early in the Premier League season, and the rumours of Jesse Lingard’s return are still rumours despite the recently leaked photo adding some merit to them, so it will be an exciting and nerve-racking time over the next few weeks for West Ham fans as they try to figure out whether the team’s positive start to the season will continue and whether Lingard will return to the Hammers.
Image from: unsplash.com