Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar after Watford defeat
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Manchester United’s reluctance to play certain players has left them vying for a move away from Old Trafford in a bid for regular game time. Jesse Lingard is one of those, and a return to West Ham United has been on the cards for the England international – but with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gone, the England international has a tough decision on his hands.
Lingard had been linked with a move away from United this week after it became clear that contract talks had broken down to extend his 21-year spell at United.
The reported reasoning for the talks failing was that Solskjaer had promised him plenty more game time this season as opposed to last, where he made just three appearances by Christmas.
He was subsequently loaned out to West Ham where he blossomed, even earning a spot in England’s provisional Euro 2020 squad before being cut at the last hurdle.
His form at the London Stadium prompted Solskjaer to use him more prominently in the league earlier this term, scoring quality efforts against Newcastle and incidentally his former loan outfit.
But since then Lingard has found himself frozen out again and he has reportedly had enough and wants a move away from Old Trafford.
West Ham and Newcastle have also incidentally been touted as favourites to sign him, and with Lingard having spent last season on loan at the former – scoring nine goals in 16 league games along the way – it seemed a deal could have been on the cards.
But with Solskjaer’s sacking, Lingard may have second thoughts about having to move elsewhere.
If Erik ten Hag is appointed, he prefers a midfield-packed outfit which could play into Lingard’s hands, and Laurent Blanc does too. The midfield space taken up by Bruno Fernandes could be doubled to allow Lingard more starts.
Solskjaer, who was sacked as United manager on Sunday, was highly complimentary of Lingard despite contract talks stalling.
“Jesse is training really hard, really well and he’s ready and available for me, disappointed he’s not playing more,” Solskjaer said on the Mirror before his sacking on Sunday morning.
“In regards to contract situations and talks, I’ve not been in them very closely.
“For me, Jesse is still a big part of this squad and important and he gives quality to the group every day.
“Every player wants to play as much as possible, with Jesse and all my players. They’re working really hard, can’t fault the attitude when they’re called upon.
“Jesse has done well when he’s played for us and with the games coming up he’s going to play a part.”
Solskjaer’s departure however could change Lingard’s situation at United if stand-in boss Michael Carrick opts to play him more regularly.
But with uncertainty over who will be the new manager and West Ham ready to offer him guaranteed playing time in east London, Lingard may still be leaning towards the exit door unless United make an exciting appointment.
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