West Ham could have a fight on their hands to sign Jesse Lingard from Manchester United, as reports suggest Arsenal have revived their interest in the 28-year-old.
Lingard has been exceptional since joining the Irons on loan in January and his parent club have sensed the chance to cash in. His form under David Moyes has justified United’s decision to trigger a one-year contract extension in December, and they are now commanding £30m for his signature.
West Ham are prepared to do whatever it takes to land him permanently. His six goals and four assists have fired them into Champions League contention, and Moyes sees him as an integral part of the side going forward.
With the player seemingly happy where he is, West Ham are the clear favourites to sign him when the transfer window opens, but it may not be as straightforward as it seems. There is interest from elsewhere in Lingard, and The Star say that Arsenal are planning to ‘hijack’ the move.
The Gunners were keen on Lingard in January – they enquired about taking him on loan, but United decided against sending him to a team they viewed as a direct rival. They weren’t to know then that West Ham would be ten points clear of Mikel Arteta’s team by April.
Arsenal instead signed Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid, but with no guarantees he’ll be back next season, they are scouting the market for a new number ten. And it has seemingly taken them back to Lingard, who they see as a more viable option than ever thanks to his impressive form.
News of interest from north London shouldn’t really come as a surprise, but if reports of United’s £30m asking price are to be taken at face value, a move seems unlikely.
Lingard has impressed at the London Stadium, but that’s a steep price tag for a 28-year-old with a year left on his deal. Particularly one who recently went 18 months without a goal or an assist in the Premier League.
They’re not exactly swimming in cash at the Emirates, so if they do invest, it seems more likely to be in a long-term asset like RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku. Their first preference, though, is to bring Odegaard back to the club next season.