As reported across the media spectrum in England, Nottingham Forest have entered the race to sign Jesse Lingard as a free agent, following the expiration of his contract with Manchester United at the end of last month. They’ve done so by submitting a contract offer described as ‘significant’, and they don’t mind breaking their current wage structure if that’s what it takes to get the deal over the line. Lingard is believed to be holding out for £180,000 per week in wages.
Forest’s biggest rival for the services of the 29-year-old is thought to be West Ham, though other clubs, both in England (Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City and Newcastle) and abroad, have tabled offers of their own.
Lingard has already played for the Hammers, spending the second half of the 2020/21 season on loan at the London Stadium, directly contributing in 14 goals (nine goals, five assists) in 16 appearances under David Moyes.
For his part, Moyes has made his wish for Lingard to return to his side known on several occasions.
However, it seems Steve Cooper is also keen to have the former United forward at the City Ground, having seen his ranks notably strengthened already for the Premier League challenges that await in the upcoming season. Forest have already signed Lingard’s former teammate, goalkeeper Dean Henderson on a season-long loan, as well as defenders Neco Williams (Liverpool), Moussa Niakhate (Mainz 05) and Giulian Biancone (Troyes), and former Liverpool forward Taiwo Awoniyi (Union Berlin).
Lingard rose through the academy ranks at Manchester United, just missing out on the Sir Alex Ferguson era as he earned first-team promotion a year after the legendary manager retired. Six months later, he joined Derby County on a half-season loan and was later given a proper shot in the team. In all competitions, he made a total of 231 appearances, scoring 35 goals and producing 21 assists for the 20-time English champions.