Exclusive - Manchester United and England midfielder Jesse Lingard is a target for La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.
The 28-year-old is back at Old Trafford after enjoying a hugely successful loan spell at West Ham, where he bagged nine goals in 16 appearances to help David Moyes' side finish sixth in the Premier League and qualify for the Europa League.
That red-hot period of form earned Lingard a recall to Gareth Southgate's preliminary England squad for Euro 2020, although he was ultimately one of seven players cut from the Three Lions' final 26-man party.
His future has been the bone of contention for a number of weeks, with many West Ham supporters clamouring for him to return to the London Stadium on a permanent basis. But 90min has learned that Atletico, who are the reigning La Liga champions after fending off Barcelona and Real Madrid in a hotly contested title race last season, have made their interest known.
Atletico are no strangers to having English talent on their books as they currently have Kieran Trippier among their ranks. Coincidentally, he is a transfer target for United this summer, and the two clubs have been in talks throughout the summer for not just him, but goalkeepers Jan Oblak and David de Gea as well.
In theory, a Lingard for Trippier exchange could be facilitated, although it's 90min's understanding that the idea is not currently something that has been discussed.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made his position clear on Lingard and he is happy for him to leave the club, believing he has better options - particularly with Jadon Sancho’s imminent arrival from Borussia Dortmund.
The Red Devils are asking for more than £25m for Lingard - who has just a year left to run on his contract - which has put off West Ham from making a bid. The Hammers would be happy to take him on loan again, but the United academy graduate wants a permanent deal.
Lingard has instructed his representatives to explore options abroad, and that is how Atletico's interest has come about. Manager Diego Simeone is believed to be a big fan of Lingard, who showed
he is more than capable of high intensity running and pressing throughout his loan spell at West Ham.
Those traits appeals to Atleti's chief, while Lingard is also a versatile operator positionally - able to play off both flanks as well as in behind a central striker.