Manchester United should let Jesse Lingard leave once and for all

It was always likely that Newcastle were going to be linked with a number of Manchester United players during the January window.

There is reportedly interest in Eric Bailly from Tyneside but a deal is difficult for a number of reasons and Donny van de Beek has also been touted in relation to a move to the north east.

Jesse Lingard has also been linked, with the BBC reporting that United have rejected a loan bid from Newcastle for the England international.

A new report from The Telegraph claims Newcastle may now be ready to pay £12 million for Lingard.

If Newcastle pay up, then the decision to snub their initial loan approach will be an shrewd one.

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Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

The case to let Lingard leave

It had seemed United missed their opportunity to cash in on Lingard during the summer, when his stock was high, and West Ham made a bid to sign him permanently. It should also be noted that it has been reported that Lingard also rejected a return to east London, in order to try and fight for his place at Old Trafford.

He made one last attempt to prove himself at United, but it is clear it has not worked and his fortunes did not change under Ralf Rangnick either. He has played just 89 minutes of Premier League football this season.

United simply don’t need Lingard, given the small amount of minutes he is getting. The likes of Hannibal Mejbri and Shola Shoretire can both benefit, and Anthony Elanga has already moved ahead of him in the pecking order.

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Lingard has clung on longer than many might have done to try and preserve his status as a United player. His affection for the club is not in doubt.

If United keep Lingard until the end of the season, they will be paying his wages and not getting so much as a loan fee in for a player who they are seemingly only keeping in case of another Covid outbreak, to boost the numbers in the squad. If anything, it would be an excuse not to spend, with nobody benefitting.

If he leaves now, they could get some money in for him, as well as saving on paying his salary for the final months of his deal, while also letting him go somewhere for a new challenge and to kickstart his bid to get into England’s World Cup 2022 squad.

When Ralf Rangnick rotates right now, he probably feels he should include an experienced pro like Lingard, but if he wasn’t around, a youngster could get a slot on the bench and take a step forward in his development.

Letting Lingard leave in January makes sense, and United should snap Newcastle’s hands off if a bid of £12 million really does come in.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.