Solskjaer: Lingard still has a big part to play
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West Ham are chasing Lille midfielder Jonathan Bamba as an alternative to Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard. The England midfielder, such a hit on his loan spell with the Hammers in the second half of last season, is looking increasingly likely to stay at parent club United.
Old Trafford manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last week insisted he wants to keep the 28-year-old and he was on the substitutes’ bench against Southampton.
Solskjaer said: “I think Jesse’s first priority is to get into our team. Whenever your employer is Man Utd, that’s your first priority, it always is.
“I’ve got to leave players out of the starting eleven and squad. But they all have to remember they’re going to play a part if we’re going to be successful.
“Jesse’s back to fitness, played really well in behind closed doors games and has come back in good shape. He’s got a big part to play.”
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The Hammers have not given up hope of luring Lingard back permanently, but are looking at other players who can fill a similar role just in case.
Bamba, 25, has made a big impression at the Ligue 1 club with his skill and pace, and played a major part in Lille’s title success last season, with six goals and nine assists.
The former France under-21 player, who joined Lille in 2918 from Saint-Etienne, is rated at around £25million.
But West Ham face competition from Atalanta and Bayer Leverkusen, both also chasing Bamba.
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West Ham boss David Moyes said about Lingard last week: “Of course, we really enjoyed having Jesse but Jesse is a Manchester United player and the questions are not for me but are for Manchester United.
“We enjoyed having him and if the opportunity arose for us to get Jesse then we would have an interest but in my mind, he is at Manchester United and it is not for us to discuss.
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“I do hope to be able to do some more business.
“We have been trying hard and we are trying to add to a good group of players and get ourselves some more options.
“We know we have a challenging season ahead of us, an exciting one and I hope we are able to do something but in this business, there are no guarantees.”
After beating Newcastle 4-2 at St James’ Park in their opening match of the new Premier League season, Moyes’ charges take on Leicester tonight at the London Stadium.
Moyes added: “We had a great start last week winning away from home, soo, hopefully now we can turn the London Stadium into a really fruitful place for us.
“We had a good record there last year, we are starting to grow into it, playing there and getting used to it and I am looking forward to getting supporters back to help us along as well.
“Brendan Rodgers has done a great job and he has got them [Leicester] playing really well. They have just won the Community Shield.
“I have to say that I think beating them [twice] last year was a great achievement for us and they were big important games for us because we were on the tail of Leicester for a long part of the season.”
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