West Ham

West Ham signing Jesse Lingard on loan makes a whole lot of sense

Toby Cudworth
Lingard has joined on loan until the end of the season
Lingard has joined on loan until the end of the season / Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

David Moyes' attempts to strengthen West Ham's squad for an unlikely tilt at European qualification have led to a loan deal for out-of-favour Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard.

The 28-year-old hasn't played a single minute of Premier League football this season, and only has 179 minutes of 2020/21 action under his belt across all competitions. In the three appearances he's made, only two have seen Lingard giving meaningful game time by United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as his cameo away at Brighton in the Carabao Cup lasted just nine minutes.

Lingard is, for all intents and purposes, surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, and desperately in need of some fresh scenery to reignite his stagnating career.

His exclusion from United's plans is perhaps understandable given their extreme upturn in form over the past year. Bruno Fernandes is the club's shiny new toy who performs week in, week out and the emergence of Mason Greenwood from the club's academy, as well as the continued development of Marcus Rashford, means there is little room for Lingard at the inn.

Lingard has likely accepted that his time at United is coming to an end, and reviving his career at West Ham - on loan to begin with, and perhaps permanently thereafter - in a side ever-improving under David Moyes appears on the surface to be a fantastic opportunity.

Not only will he be integrated into the first team setup of a side performing well, Lingard will unite with a manager who demands the highest of standards from his players - at all times. Moyes, who is now into the second year of his second tenure, has spoken countless times about the need for West Ham to bring in players hungry for success, as well as those who are willing to work hard individually and for each other.

West Ham's consistency this season has owed much to the brilliance of signings who match those values. Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal are two shining examples of players who have brought a new attitude and application to the table, and the Hammers continue to reap the benefits of Jarrod Bowen's signing from Hull last January.

Two success stories of West Ham's style of play
Two success stories of West Ham's style of play / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

"We're bringing in that versatility, I've wanted to try to get an energetic team at the moment and Jesse has been known for his work-rate and effort, so I think he'll fit in nicely with what we've got."

David Moyes on Lingard's arrival

In Michail Antonio and Declan Rice, they have a player who has elevated his game to the next level under Moyes and a player whose stock is continuing to rise with every game he plays. The development of both is clear for all to see, and that should sit well with Lingard as he weighs up the possibility of swapping Manchester for London.

It's not only player development that should impress Lingard, as from a tactical standpoint he should be a great fit. The Hammers are well versed in playing in two different systems, operating either with a back three, wing-backs and three pressing forwards or in a 4-2-3-1, deploying a creative midfielder behind Antonio or the recently departed Sebastien Haller.

Typically, West Ham surrender the lion's share of possession, but have shown they can be devastating on the counter attack - breaking at speed along the deck or in the air, something that Lingard has excelled at doing during his time at Manchester United.

For the most part West Ham have been successful in forward areas, but what they've lacked this season is a bit of pace to go alongside Antonio in central areas. Lingard - capable of playing as a shadow striker as well as his preferred position of wide right - has previously shown that he's full of running, and not only can he turn on the burners, he is widely recognised as an exceptionally hard worker determined to chase down lost causes.

Stamina and staying power are key to working in a side managed by Moyes, and although Lingard is lacking any kind of match practice right now, the 24-cap England international has rarely struggled with injury and shouldn't take long to get up to speed, even if it means a month or so of appearing from the bench.

West Ham would also, ideally, like another player to take the goalscoring burden off of Antonio, Bowen and Soucek's shoulders, and although Lingard has never been a prolific goalscorer, he does know where the net is.

Crucially, he turns up in big games, evidenced by his goals in the 2016 FA Cup final and 2017 Carabao Cup final among others, and it would be remiss for any career doubters to write him off based on his statistical output. There's so much more to Lingard's game than goals, why else would he have been afforded over 200 career appearances by a club of United's size?

Lingard scored the winning goal in the 2016 FA Cup final
Lingard scored the winning goal in the 2016 FA Cup final / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Granted, Lingard will need time to settle and may not be a regular straight away. But a move to West Ham could not only resurrect a career that is currently going nowhere, it could be the start of a career reboot under a manager who looks to have his house well in order.

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