On July 26, 2020, Jesse Lingard scored his first goal of the season in the final matchday of the Premier League campaign – which was also his first since December 2018.
His footballing reputation had been completely tarnished and many Manchester United fans were certain he was not good enough to pull on the famous red jersey ever again.
Fast forward to yesterday, and Lingard delivered a footballing masterclass for West Ham United, providing two assists and a superb solo goal to propel the Hammers into a Champions League spot with just eight games to go.
The 28-year-old has completely revitalised his career since securing a loan move in January.
He has six goals and three assists in eight matches and his stunning performances have seen him cement his place back in the England squad ahead of this summer’s European Championships.
All things considered, it leaves a real predicament for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to ponder regarding whether to bring Lingard back to Old Trafford or allow him to leave permanently.
There are many factors to consider, with the biggest being the interests of the player himself.
It is great to see Lingard thriving at a club and enjoying his football again. You can tell he fits in well and the fans seem to have really taken to him, so the idea of a permanent move seems justified.
Lingard has found his form again as he is now one of the main focal points of a squad again. He is allowed to express himself in a creative role and is playing consistently, which he just wasn’t getting at Old Trafford.
In an ideal world from United’s perspective, he would be brought back as a rotation player – but Lingard will rightly want more than this.
The central attacking midfielder role at United is firmly taken by Bruno Fernandes who is the first name on the team sheet and a huge fan favourite.
In addition, if United keep Netherlands international Donny van de Beek, they are well stocked for players in Lingard’s position.
On that basis, selling Lingard seems to be the best move for all concerned and he could be used as a bargaining tool this summer.
It’s no secret that United have been heavily monitoring West Ham’s Declan Rice for some while now, and a player-plus-cash deal might be in the offing.
Whatever happens to Lingard – he’ll forever be remembered as a brilliant servant for United.