West Ham fear Jesse Lingard will return to Manchester United this summer because they do not have the funds available to pursue a permanent deal for the England international.
After joining the Hammers on loan in January, Lingard has been in immense form. He has scored nine goals and contributed four assists in just 13 games in all competitions, and as you can imagine, that has left West Ham keen to keep him on a permanent basis.
It is thought that Lingard is open to staying at the London Stadium, but according to the Daily Mail, he might have priced himself out of a move with some contract demands that the Hammers do not feel they can match.
Lingard has asked for a four-year contract worth £100,000-a-week, but West Ham believe they cannot find space for that on a wage budget which has been decimated by the loss of income from the COVID-19 pandemic. The club made losses of £65m last season and are expected to be hit even harder this year.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has always left the door open to a potential return for Lingard at Old Trafford, but there are doubts over where his minutes would come from. Bruno Fernandes is the undisputed number one in United's midfield, with Donny van de Beek already floundering because of the lack of opportunities afforded to him.
It's hard to see how Lingard would work his way back into the side, but Sportsmail claim that there aren't too many suitors lining up to sign him either. It's not that teams haven't been impressed by his form, but rather a reluctance to meet his wage demands in a post-pandemic world.
He has been linked to some big teams who, on paper, could afford that kind of money. Real Madrid, PSG and Inter were all credited with an interest in Lingard in April, but tracking a player's form and committing to an expensive transfer are two very different things.
As it stands, Lingard appears set to return to Old Trafford - where he will find himself at somewhat of a crossroads.