West Ham United have been given the ideal chance to sign rumoured David Moyes target Jesse Lingard, after the Manchester United midfielder left super-agent Mino Raiola after falling down the pecking order at Old Trafford.
What’s the word?
According to ESPN, Lingard has ditched Raiola’s agency, which also represents Erling Haaland, Paul Pogba and Matthijs de Ligt, in favour of handing full control to family members and other close associates.
Lingard began working with Raiola in January but came to the mutual agreement to sever all ties after falling out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and reconsidering his future at Old Trafford.
The 27-year-old has missed United’s last seven fixtures through a hip injury, though is expected to return to full fitness soon, with the blow helping restrict Lingard to just two appearances all season – both coming in the EFL Cup during September.
Tottenham Hotspur and FC Porto had shown an interest in Lingard this summer, with the former England international set to be out of contract when his £75,000-per-week terms expire next June, although the Red Devils hold an option to extend by a further 12-months.
Moyes had also considered a move to bring Lingard to the London Stadium this summer, per the Independent, who noted the Scottish coach was looking to capitalise on a potential clear out at his former club.
United are keen to retain their academy graduate as they are loath to losing Lingard for free, yet have not triggered their clause. The 24-cap midfielder is also open to staying at Old Trafford, but is eager to play more regularly having only started nine of his 22 Premier League appearances last term.
Chance to strike
Should Moyes continue to look fondly on a deal to bring Lingard to the London Stadium, news of the midfielder leaving Raiola’s agency should be seen as a huge boost with the 53-year-old notorious for demanding sizable fees when moving his clients.
It was once alleged in the book ‘Football Leaks: The Dirty Business of Football’, via The Telegraph, that Raiola was due £22.8m of the £89m fee United paid Juventus to sign Pogba in August 2016, on top of £2.2m from the Frenchman and £16m in further payments.
But Raiola’s demands will no longer be a likely sticking point in discussions to sign Lingard, while the Red Devils’ summer asking price of £20m will surely be slashed further given the midfielder has played just 99 minutes this season and scored four goals across all competitions last term.
Moyes could revive Lingard’s career by offering the Solskjaer outcast a new home with the Irons, as Rio Ferdinand previously lauded his worth in an attack on Jose Mourinho for never playing him in the right position.
“This is a kid who I’ve seen grow up through the ranks at Man United,” Ferdinand said, via quotes by the Express. “His movement is phenomenal, his touch, his awareness of players around him and he gets important goals. I think that his relationship with the other players in the attacking-third is key to this team and he’s someone who I just love watching play.
“He’s in with a manager now who understands him, who understands where he needs to be on the pitch to get the best out of him. I think that’s what Jose Mourinho never maybe grasped enough.”
Like Ferdinand, former Manchester United boss Luis Van Gaal felt Lingard was best suited to a central No. 10 role, which would raise question marks over Pablo Fornals’ role going forward should Moyes revive his interest.
Over his 22 outings in the Premier League last season, Lingard averaged 42 minutes a game, in which he recorded 0.5 shots, 0.9 key balls, 0.6 successful dribbles and 1.9 duels won, per SofaScore. Fornals, meanwhile, is currently averaging 83 minutes a game this term, while penning 1.3 shots, 0.8 key balls, 0.9 successful dribbles and 3.0 duels won, suggesting Moyes would be best served sticking with the Spaniard signed under Manuel Pellegrini.
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