Jesse Lingard could return to Manchester United next season because West Ham is unsure whether they will be able to find the funds to sign him permanently.
Lingard’s loan spell at the London Stadium has been one of the season’s biggest headlines, with his form propelling the Hammers into European qualification contention.
However, with West Ham’s revenue decimated by the pandemic, the club is unlikely to meet the player’s expectations for a four-year deal of more than £100,000-per-week.
Lingard did not play a minute of Premier League football for United in the first half of the season but has been a revelation since joining West Ham in January, scoring nine goals in 13 games and earning a surprising recall to the England squad.
Facing intense rivalry among attacking players, the 28-year-old featured in all of England’s World Cup qualifiers in March – against San Marino, Albania, and Poland – and is predicted to be included in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the European Championship.
West Ham manager David Moyes, has been instrumental in helping Lingard resurrect his career. He is keen to sign him permanently. However, getting the deal together is proving difficult.
With a £65 million loss last season and a bigger financial hit expected this season. West Ham is rightly hesitant to devote substantial money to long-term contracts. At least until the Government provides more clarification about the return of fans next season.
Before Christmas, Michail Antonio signed a contract extension until 2023. But any other contract renegotiations with players were put on hold.
Moyes is due to sign a new contract at some point. After triggering an extension for a further 12 months to cover next season. But as Sportsmail revealed last weekend, the offer is still being kept up by the Hammers’ financial instability.
Lingard has sparked attention from other clubs as a result of his outstanding performances. Most clubs are in a comparable financial situation to West Ham. He could be forced to return to Manchester for the final year of his United deal.