Exclusive – Manchester United and England midfielder Jesse Lingard is a target for La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.
The 28-year-old is back at Old Trafford after having a hugely successful loan spell at West Ham, where he scored nine goals in 16 games to help David Moyes’ side finish sixth in the Premier League and qualify for the Europa League.
The red-hot form period gave Lingard a recall to Gareth Southgate’s preliminary England squad for the European Championship 2020, even though he was ultimately one of seven players cut from the Three Lions’ last 26-man squad.
His future has been at the forefront of the battle for a number of weeks, with many West Ham fans complaining that he will return to London Stadium on a permanent basis. But 90min has learned that Atletico, who are reigning La Liga champions after rejecting Barcelona and Real Madrid in a highly controversial title race last season, have made their interest known.
Lingard just missed England’s Euro 2020 group / Pool / Getty Images
Atletico are no stranger to having English talent in their books as they currently have Kieran Trippier among their ranks. Coincidentally, he is a transfer target for United this summer, and the two clubs have been in talks throughout the summer for not only him, but also goalkeeper Jan Oblak and David de Gea.
In theory, a Lingard for Trippier exchange can be facilitated, although there is a 90 min understanding that the idea is currently not something that has been discussed.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made his position clear against Lingard and he is happy that he is leaving the club and believes he has better options – especially with Jadon Sancho’s imminent arrival from Borussia Dortmund.
The Red Devils are asking for more than £ 25 million for Lingard – who only has one year left to run on his contract – which has deterred West Ham from bidding. The Hammers would love to take him on loan again, but the academic academy in the United States wants a permanent deal.
David Moyes may miss signing Lingard permanently / Justin Setterfield / Getty Images
Lingard has instructed his representatives to explore alternatives abroad, and so Atletico’s interest has arisen. Manager Diego Simeone is believed to be a big fan of Lingard, who showed that she is more than capable of running and pushing with high intensity throughout her loan period at West Ham.
These qualities appeal to Atleti’s manager, while Lingard is also a versatile operator positionally – can play off both flanks as well as behind a central striker.
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