Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sprung a bit of a surprise after Manchester United’s opening pre-season match with his comments on Jesse Lingard.
Solskjaer suggested Lingard will be staying put, telling the club website: “Jesse has come back, he’s been bright and he wants to fight for his place.
“There’s nothing better than seeing players willing to fight for their place. Of course, what he did towards the end of the season, that is the true Jesse.
“That’s what we know he is capable of. I think we saw towards the end [of our own season] that we lacked maybe some options at times. He’s still in my plans. I expect him at Man Utd at the start of the season.”
Unfortunately we have learned not to quite trust Solskjaer in cases like this.
Lingard had a successful loan at West Ham last season and while he may well want to fight for his place as Solskjaer suggests, he remains one of the club’s most saleable assets.
United may never get a better chance to land a good fee for Lingard and he will have his eye on a World Cup 2022 spot.
So Solskjaer’s comments cannot really be taken at face value. We say that because he has a track record of making misleading comments on players who have been out on loan previously.
Hiking up the price?
It was just last August when Solskjaer was quizzed about the future of Chris Smalling after his successful loan at Roma. The United boss suggested the centre-back would be brought back into the fold.
Solskjaer told The Mail: “This season was about him being a regular, going to Roma, showing and proving how good a centre-back he is.
‘I wanted to give Harry (Maguire), Vic (Victor Lindelof), maybe Axel (Tuanzebe) a chance, so we found out that was the best for him to go to Roma, play for a year. Now he’s coming back and Chris has shown this season that he will be valuable.”
The only way Smalling proved valuable was just over a month later when he was sold to Roma permanently on deadline day for a fee which could rise to £18.1 million.
Don’t forget his assertions about Alexis Sanchez in January 2020 either.
Solskjaer told a press conference reported by BBC Sport: “Alexis will come back in the summer and prove you all wrong.”
United released Sanchez in the summer, making a huge saving on his wages, to allow him to join Inter Milan.
So will Jesse Lingard stay or go? Ultimately it depends on the player and what he wants to do, and the offers which come in.
United are well covered for his departure despite what Solskjaer says, with Juan Mata handed an extension and Donny van de Beek needing more playing time. Shola Shoretire and Hannibal could also benefit from his departure.
The Express reported just last week that United want £30 million for Lingard, a price West Ham are relutant to pay. Solskjaer’s comments seem like part of a game to help United get the price being demanded.
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