Arsenal: Arteta still confident of Europa League progress
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Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has claimed that Arsenal’s reported interest in Jesse Lingard is futile as the playmaker would never even consider a move to the Emirates Stadium. Lingard has starred for West Ham United since joining on loan from the Red Devils in January, scoring eight goals and claiming four assists in nine Premier League appearances.
The 28-year-old has taken to life with the Hammers like a duck to water and is spearheading the club’s charge for a top-four finish.
West Ham are understood to have a keen interest in keeping hold of Lingard beyond the end of the season, and have been tipped to mount a summer approach for his services on a permanent basis.
However, they are unlikely to be the only side in the race to sign the midfielder.
Arsenal are said to be eyeing a number of alternatives to primary target Martin Odegaard, who has gained plenty of admirers during his loan spell in north London.
The 22-year-old agreed to join the Gunners on a six-month deal in January and has impressed on a regular basis for Mikel Arteta’s side.
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The club are eager to tie him down to a permanent contract, but there are concerns over whether Real would consider selling their man.
Lingard is believed to be on Arsenal’s list of other targets but Ferdinand has suggested that there is no chance of the move coming to fruition.
The 42-year-old highlighted the West Ham loanee’s love of scoring at the Emirates and winding up the Gunners faithful in the process, declaring that he would not hesitate to snub Arteta for David Moyes if push comes to shove at the end of the season.
“You know what, they [Arsenal fans] wouldn’t have him there,” Ferdinand told the Five YouTube channel.
“The way he moonwalked off that pitch once, they wouldn’t have it. The fans would rip the place apart. He disrespected the Emirates in a way that hadn’t been seen.
“Listen, West Ham will have a fight to get him by the way, because I think other teams are going to be like: ‘Listen, we want him!’
“He’s not going to go to Arsenal over West Ham obviously, but there will be other teams. He ain’t going nowhere near Arsenal.”
Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan have also been mentioned in connection with Lingard this week.
The former Derby County loanee was rewarded for his recent efforts with a return to the England squad for last month’s World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.
Despite his stellar performances for West Ham, Lingard failed to make a single top-flight appearance for United during the first half of the campaign.
He admitted earlier this year that his morale was greatly affected by his lack of action, with Red Devils talisman Bruno Fernandes establishing himself as the first name on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team sheet in Lingard’s preferred No 10 role.
“It was a tough period building up to the loan,” he told BBC Sport.
“I felt like I deserved to be playing for United, but obviously, I knew in myself I had to go on loan. So there was a range of emotions, I was going through all sorts.
“So just to get it over the line and sign the papers was a good feeling. I think you just have to believe in yourself and believe in your ability. It would have been quite easy for me to give up and fall off.
“At the time it was hard. You train all week, building up to the game and then not getting picked is difficult for any player.”
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