Cape Town - Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard
appears to be heading for the Old Trafford exit in the off-season, with
Atletico Madrid and Roma reportedly interested.
ESPN claim sources have indicated Atleti and Roma, who
signed Lingard's United team-mate Chris Smalling on a season-long loan deal
last summer, are showing the most interest.
The 27-year-old would like to stay at United but has not
ruled out moving on if it helps him rediscover his best form.
He has 18 months left on his Red Devils contract, as a well
a one-year extension option, and there have been informal discussions over a
Those talks appear to have been shelved recently as
Lingard's place as a regular in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's line-up has gone and his
performances have been unconvincing.
Back in November, it was reported that the ex-England star
had six months to rescue his career at Old Trafford, but little has changed for
the better since then.
Solskjaer sent Lingard a clear message over his status when
he took him on the 5,200-mile round trip to Kazakhstan in November to face
Astana, rather than keep him behind with the rest of the big names in readiness
to face Aston Villa.
The Norwegian had told Lingard to sort out his form and
attitude before it is too late but doesn't appear to have received the response
he wanted - at least with the form.
The £68 million signing of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting last
week casts further doubt on the Englishman's future and most expect United to
go for a big-money buy to become their new 'number ten' in the summer.
ESPN claim Solskjaer is keen to keep hold of a player who he
still views as a vital part of United’s future. But Lingard is not immune to
feeling the abuse levelled at him by supporters, particularly on social media.
If that becomes too much to handle, then a fresh start elsewhere seems
His reported appointment of Mino Raiola as his agent also
speaks volumes as most players that take on his advice are well down the road
to changing their scenery because the Dutch dealmaker is renowned for getting
United's players have been granted time off by Solskjaer
this week before heading to Spain for a warm-weather training camp.
The two-week winter break is a good time for all parties to
assess the situation, but it looks unlikely executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward
- about the only man less popular with some United fans - will be rushing back
to the negotiating table to restart talks over a proposed new deal for Lingard.