IAN LADYMAN: Manchester United have left the door ajar for West Ham to seal a deal for Jesse Lingard this summer… the Hammers MUST now behave like a big club to land their man
- West Ham have moved training base and stadium as they bid to break the big six
- Under David Moyes, the Hammers are enjoying their best season in years
- One of his notable achievements has been his role in kickstarting Jesse Lingard
- The Man United outcast has flourished since making the switch to the capital
- Now, West Ham must behave like a big club to land the midfielder this summer
Seven years ago, I went to West Ham to interview Sam Allardyce. The club were in the Premier League, but their manager’s office was a portable one — his name on the door written on a piece of A4 paper.
It is different now. Different training ground, different stadium, different manager. But do West Ham have a greatly different attitude? We may soon find out.
Under David Moyes, West Ham have been terrific. He is doing a very fine job and one of his notable achievements has been to sign Jesse Lingard on loan from Manchester United.
West Ham’s true ambitions will be tested this summer with their approach for Jesse Lingard
There is a lot of rubbish spoken about Lingard, but those who know him will tell you he is a committed, talented footballer with a good approach to his career.
In recent times he lost his way at Old Trafford. Personal problems — his mother has been unwell and care of his younger siblings fell to him for long periods — have not helped, but a change of scenery in London has brought the best out of him.
Not eligible to play against his former club on Sunday, he has been West Ham’s best player since joining and has a chance of returning to Gareth Southgate’s England squad when it is announced on Thursday. The two men have spoken recently.
The Hammers are enjoying their best campaign in years and are challenging for Europe
A notable achievement for David Moyes has been his role in kickstarting United exile Lingard
Lingard’s standing at his parent club is strange. He is not sure how much United want him, while the loan deal that took him to West Ham was protracted and more difficult than it might have been. West Ham are covering all of his £100,000-a-week wages.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was complimentary about Lingard on Friday, but also said: ‘Jesse’s position is at No 10 and we have Bruno Fernandes there.’
United will have Fernandes there next season, too. And the one after that.
So if Solskjaer’s thinking really is as strangely one-dimensional on the matter as he makes out then it would appear there is an opportunity for West Ham.
The door to a permanent switch of clubs is not exactly wide open, but there is certainly a chink of light. It is time for West Ham to lean heavily on that door.
The Englishman has flourished since leaving Old Trafford for London in a loan move in January
It will be tough for clubs to spend big money this summer, after more than a year of playing in front of no paying customers. At West Ham it will be no different.
But as they look to build on all that Moyes has achieved this season, they must do their best to behave like a big club would behave.
It will be a hard deal to do, for sure. Other clubs will be interested, while Lingard only has a year left on his contract at United so knows that if he goes back and sticks around he will become a relatively attractive free transfer. He would still be only 29.
Equally, Lingard knows a return to United would represent a risk. Another season of not playing for Solskjaer would see his status drop.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has Bruno Fernandes as his option for years to come at No 10
Now, West Ham must seize their opportunity to land a big name if they wish to be a big club
Above all we must remember that we are talking about a very good footballer. Lingard played in England’s 2018 World Cup semi-final and has more than 200 United appearances behind him.
For West Ham, he would be a statement transfer.
They have gone big before — Javier Hernandez, Marko Arnautovic — but those signings lacked judgment.
A permanent move for Lingard would be a big one. It would be courageous and it may prove beyond them.
But if they really want us to take them seriously, it is a deal they should be working on right now.
Manchester City the perfect fit for Erling Haaland
There are many reasons why Manchester City lead the race to sign Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland.
City need a striker badly. Their coach is Pep Guardiola and players want to work with him. They will be this season’s Premier League champions.
Another reason is that the 20-year-old has pitched his required wages in the £350,000-a-week bracket.
In these uniquely difficult times for our game, who else can really afford that?
Man City may be the perfect fit for Erling Haaland if his £350k-a-week demands are accurate
Steely Fletcher knows what it takes to win
When Roy Keane famously let rip at his Manchester United team-mates in the MUTV studio after a hiding at Middlesbrough in 2005, Darren Fletcher suffered more than most.
Nobody outside Old Trafford ever saw that video — it was never aired publicly — but Sir Alex Ferguson made certain the players did.
Darren Fletcher (right) was named Manchester United’s technical director earlier this week
Gathered in a room at the Carrington training ground, Fletcher sat with his team-mates as Keane tore him apart on tape. And he took it. All of it. Simply because he knew that — on that occasion — Keane had been absolutely right.
Fletcher knew what Keane had done for him as a young footballer. He knew what he had learned from him about what it means to be a United player, about just how high and unrelenting standards had to be.
So Fletcher didn’t cry and moan about that video mauling, as some of his team-mates did.
The ex-United star had to take criticism from the likes of Roy Keane (centre) during his career
The Scot has won all there is to win at Old Trafford and will prove an inspired appointment
No, he took it all and moved on with his career.
Fletcher, 37 now, played 342 times for United and won every single thing there was to win.
He understands the game, understands footballers and understands his club.
He has just been appointed technical director at Old Trafford. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t turn out to be very good at it.
In Russia, the Sputnik V Covid jab is being offered to fans at Zenit St Petersburg matches.
Like all vaccines, it takes a while to work. There were 23,500 fans at Saturday’s game against Akhmat Grozny. Anybody else spot the flaw in the plan?
Zenit St Petersburg are offering every supporter a Covid-19 vaccine before their home games
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