Jesse Lingard is still without a club after leaving Manchester United at the end of last season. But rumours are now circulating that the twenty-nine-year-old could be willing to explore options in the MLS as he looks to reignite his career after a disappointing end to his time at Old Trafford.
Lingard, who enjoyed a spell spanning over two decades with Manchester United, has been the subject of interest from clubs in the Premier League and across Europe, with West Ham, who he starred for on loan, said to be readying a move. However, in the twilight of his career, Lingard could have his heart set on a new challenge that also presents a lifestyle change, and the MLS fits the bill.
Lingard, who can operate in midfield and attack, and has thirty-two full England caps to his name, is believed to be ready to open talks with MLS clubs to see what is on the table in terms of offers. While visiting the US, he will also get a taste of the lifestyle that a move to Major League Soccer would present, and it could well be what makes the difference between staying put in the Premier League and venturing across the pond.
West Ham are keen to add Lingard to their ranks on a permanent basis, after a loan spell saw a return of nine goals and five assists from sixteen appearances. But, Frank Lampard is said to be an admirer too, and Everton could be prepared to offer terms. And Newcastle, who Lingard was eager to join in January, could also reignite their interest if he decides to stay in the UK.
What could be telling is that Lingard hasn’t ruled out the possibility of forcing his way into Gareth Southgate’s squad for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar. His form when on loan at West Ham earned him a recall into the international fold, but he’s not been selected since. If he’s to stand a chance of being on the plane, he must be playing regularly and playing at a good level, which could mean a move to the MLS will be off the cards.
However, if there is an indication that the Warrington-born star will be highly unlikely to make it to Qatar, Lingard could decide to follow in the footsteps of fellow former England internationals such as David Beckham, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard by making a move to play in the MLS, reaping the rewards that come with it.
It’d be a move that disappoints Premier League outfits, West Ham especially, but after a disappointing season at Old Trafford, maybe a change of scenery is precisely what Lingard needs. And there will always be the opportunity to return to England in the future. In addition, Edinson Cavani and Juan Mata, who left United at the same time as Lingard, are also still without a club, and the MLS could be a destination for them too.