Manchester United are right to block Jesse Lingard’s return to West Ham, according to former England international Gabby Agbonlahor.
Lingard has been a peripheral figure since his return to Old Trafford after a successful loan spell at the Hammers last season and West Ham are keen to bring him back to the London Stadium before the end of the January transfer window.
The Hammers were hoping to seal a deal for Lingard in the summer but after the England international received assurances from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he was in the then manager’s plans Lingard elected to stay at his boyhood club.
Those promises were broken by Solskjaer and since the Norwegian was replaced by Ralf Rangnick the 29-year-old’s stock has fallen further. Lingard has seen just six minutes of action under the German, including a brief run out in the FA Cup that will cup-tie Lingard should a move materialise before the end of the month.
Stuart Pearce reiterated West Ham’s interest in bringing Lingard back to the club but Manchester United are understood to be unwilling to let him leave for a team rivalling them when it comes to European football qualification for next season. A decision Agbonlahor agrees with.
“I feel sorry for him because for me, Jesse Lingard will want to go to West Ham,” Agbonlahor told talkSPORT. “If you’re Manchester United there’s no way you let him go to your rivals.
“Champions League rivals, they are not going to let him go there. At the start of the season I think he fancied himself to get more game time but when you see the season go on now, Pogba’s been injured a lot and he’s still getting game time.
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“Now he should be thinking; ‘This month I have to leave’. If they’re not going to let him go to West Ham, and Newcastle are willing to pay the £10million loan fee, he has to go there.
“What if he goes there [West Ham], gets five, six or seven goals and West Ham get top 4? They’ll be a laughing stock, Manchester United!”
West Ham have not totally lost hope of a deal for Lingard before the January 31 deadline but the club are looking at alternative options including a move for Marseille striker Bamba Dieng.
The Senegalese international is reportedly available for just £8.3 million and is comfortable in a variety of attacking roles.