Manchester United are likely to lose Jesse Lingard either in January or next summer.

BBC Sport reports contract renewal talks have broken down and Lingard is keen to leave the club.

Lingard has given a lot to the club over the course of his career. At the age of 28, it might actually be in the best interests of all parties to move on.

There’s no doubt Lingard has been treated poorly this season, with a lack of game time. That also makes it easier for him to replace.

shola shoretire
(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Step up Shola Shoretire

Manchester United have a young player perfectly capable of stepping up, who will benefit from Lingard’s departure.

Shola Shoretire made his Manchester United debut last season, becoming the seventh youngest ever player for the club.

He impressed in pre-season, providing two assists, but has not even been named in a first team squad this season.

At just 17-years-old, United can be patient with him. But Lingard was blocking his path, and in one or two years time, Shoretire could become impatient.

The teenager is a special talent, making his UEFA Youth League debut at just 14, and his under-23s debut at 16.

 

This season Shoretire has five goals for the under-23s and under-19s, and four assists.

He is a highly technical player with a strong creative streak, who has always played ahead of his age group. United need to create a pathway for him to step up.

Lingard renewing his contract would have created a major problem for Shoretire in terms of his future chances of game time.

While right now, in November 2021, Lingard is the more developed player, by November 2023, Shoretire could have lived up to his reputation as one of English football’s brightest talents, and Lingard will be 30.

So Lingard’s exit could be a blessing in disguise for Manchester United, providing Shoretire continues his development.

Shoretire has the potential to be an even better player for United than the one Lingard has been. He has the raw skills, and is more highly rated at his age than Lingard was.

shola shoretire
(Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

When you look at the fairly minimal game time Lingard has had this season, there is no reason why that could not conceivably have been given to Shoretire instead.

Juan Mata’s contract is also up at the end of the season, another player who would have blocked Shoretire’s development.

Long term this could be the best decision for United. And while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems to have stumbled his way into it, with his terrible treatment of Lingard this season, the club may end up better off if Shoretire gets his chance over the next 18 months.

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