The Europa League draw was not kind to Manchester United.
Despite being a seeded team, United managed to land the toughest draw available; Real Sociedad.
Sociedad sit top of La Liga and will pose a tough threat, especially with United’s recent poor record in knockout matches against Spanish teams, leading to exits from 2018, 2019, and 2020 tournaments.
For one Manchester United player, the draw is particularly inconvenient.
Sky Sports reported last week Jesse Lingard’s representatives had opened negotiations with Sociedad over a loan move.
A deal now is probably dead in the water.
UEFA competition rules dictate players on loan cannot be ineligible against their parent club.
While this could haunt United with Diogo Dalot if we draw AC Milan, this was not foreseeable when the loan was granted.
Now it would be silly on United’s part to send Lingard to Sociedad to play against us, whatever you think of him.
It is a shame in a way. Lingard needs a loan move and Sociedad, with the season they are enjoying, would have been an attractive option.
Now he will need to look at alternatives, which may mean staying in England.
Needs to move on
It is in Lingard’s best interests now to have a fresh start. His season has been near disastrous.
He has not played at all since the Carabao Cup in September and does not have a single league minute to his name.
Lingard’s last Premier League start for United came back in January.
There is a possibility he could be involved over the festive period with United needing to rotate the line up.
A rare appearance may even happen in the Carabao Cup quarter final against Everton later this month.
Even so, a loan move is in his interests if he wants to play regularly, and revive his slim hopes of a Euro 2021 call-up.
It just won’t be with Real Sociedad.
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