Jesse Lingard's move to work with super agent Mino Raiola was triggered after the player learned Manchester United were considering him as a makeweight in exchange for Leicester City's James Maddison, 90min can reveal.

Lingard's future at Old Trafford has been subject to speculation in recent weeks, with multiple reports emerging over the weekend that an offer of £45m plus the England international had been lodged in exchange for Maddison - who has been, and remains, one of United's long term transfer targets.

The concept had been floated at the end of last week, believed to be Thursday or Friday, with United encouraged in their pursuit of Maddison as talks over his new contract at King Power Stadium have stalled. 

James Maddison

Wage demands appear to be the hold up in Maddison's negotiations, with the player and his representatives looking for a deal that would make him the club's highest earner - north of Jamie Vardy's £140,000-a-week wage. Brendan Rodgers ​confirmed talks were "ongoing" over a new deal with the player in a press conference on Tuesday.

United accept that a deal for Maddison, or any big money transfer, will be difficult in January, though they are understood to be ready to move for any of their targets when they sense an opportunity such as this. No exchange offer is understood to have been officially lodged, but merely floated as a potential avenue to explore at present.

Lingard has learned of the discussions and become upset with the situation. 


The player himself has been, and remains, keen to sign a new contract with a club he has been with since the age of seven, knowing that there is only 18 months to run on the existing agreement which was officially signed in 2017. United do have an option to extend the contract for a further year, though Lingard wants fresh terms.

​Lingard is understood to have confided in close friend Paul Pogba, himself a United academy graduate, about the development last weekend

Pogba broached the subject with his agent, Mino Raiola - who has been very public with his criticism of the club recently - and put the two in contact. This led to the newly-established working relationship between the two, and Lingard informed manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of the development in a meeting on Monday.

Raiola is typically known to be a difficult agent to deal with for football clubs, though he did play a key role in ​Pogba's move to Old Trafford from Juventus in 2016. That same summer, two other Raiola clients - Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan - joined the club, and United have recently done business with the Dutchman again in ultimately unsuccessful negotiations for Erling Haaland.

Haaland joined Borussia Dortmund, and Raiola stoked the fire with United again in December by claiming that the club would "ruin Maradona, Pele and Maldini" because of continued club mismanagement, while he has revealed on a number of occasions in the past that he was working on a transfer out of Manchester for Pogba himself.

United had put their failure to sign Haaland down to terms they weren't willing to accept from Raiola, centring around a buyout clause and percentage of future sale, but their frosty relationship continues - it's unlikely Raiola's representation of Lingard is likely to go down well at Old Trafford, to say the least.

Mino Raiola,Carmine Raiola

Lingard has not however made the switch in order to get out of the club, but more to protect his own interests. Raiola has consistently gone out to publicly bat for his clients, Pogba included, and Lingard felt the time was right for a change in representation. It's understood Lingard was initially represented by an agent with close ties to his family.

The 27-year-old has come in for strong criticism for his performances from United fans over the last year, failing to deliver a Premier League goal or assist in the entirety of 2019, though Solskjaer has jumped to the defence of the player's performances of late - suggesting he was key to league victories over ​Tottenham and Manchester City in December.

Solskjaer has been repeatedly questioned on the future of Pogba - who underwent ankle surgery on Tuesday - over the Christmas period. And while injury will minimise the prospect of a United departure before the current season finishes, his wish to leave the club for Real Madrid remains.


Pogba's wish to work with Zinedine Zidane is a key reason behind his desire to leave. Real Madrid have been suggested to 90min as the only club he wants to join, despite interest from former club Juventus, and it is not out of the question that a deal could be struck behind the scenes and ahead of Euro 2020. 

The possibility remains that ​United change their manager before next season - pressure will mount on him following a humbling by rivals Manchester City on Tuesday night - and they would prefer to avoid the situation to be transferred over to a new regime.

United may however find it difficult to sell for their summer 2019 valuation of £130m due to their current standing and Pogba's injury. The Frenchman has not started a game since September 30, and is not expected to return to first team action until February.

For more from Scott Saunders, find him on Twitter!