Jesse Lingard made a ‘clear decision’ on his future despite Manchester United ‘s transfer stance during the summer window.
The 28-year-old was heavily linked with a return to West Ham over the summer, having starred on loan last season.
Lingard’s nine goals in 16 Premier League games helped David Moyes’ men qualify for the Europa League by finishing sixth in the table.
It was reported that the Red Devils would accept a £25million offer for their academy graduate but the Irons opted to sign Nikola Vlasic, 23, from CSKA Moscow on deadline day for a higher fee.
Although many believed a deal was always on the cards, Lingard’s mind was reportedly made up well before the window slammed shut.
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90min.com report that the midfielder ‘made it clear to West Ham that he did not want to return to the London Stadium’ which could have forced Moyes and co to look for another option in Vlasic.
Lingard is said to have ‘communicated to joint chairman David Sullivan personally’ to lay out his intentions.
Their Croatian alternative, who struggled as a teenager at Everton but has since impressed in Russia, cost the Irons an initial £25.7million, with the deal potential rising to £33m.
Irons first-team coach Stuart Pearce revealed his club’s interest during the summer.
The former England international told talkSPORT : “We would like him to come and join us. That has been an open secret. He was wonderful last year.
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“The ball is in Manchester United’s court. He is contracted to them. We would like him with us, there is no doubt about that.”
Lingard is a “special lad” according to one of Moyes’ right-hand men and was a fan favourite during his time in the capital.
He has made one appearance for United so far this season, having tested positive for Covid-19 at the start of the term.
“He’s a special lad and was very good around the players – the players really like him,” Pearce stated.
“His ability shone out last year and gave us a great option in our squad.
“You never know, but at this moment in time it looks like he is fighting for a place in the United line-up.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claims Lingard has a “big part to play” this season and consistently maintained that he was part of his plans during the summer months.
Firmly a back-up to Bruno Fernandes, his first start of the campaign could well be against Moyes and co in the Carabao Cup in September.
“I think Jesse’s first priority is to get into our team,” Solskjaer said in August. “I think whenever your employer is Man United, I think that’s your first priority and always is.
“I think we, together, can have great moments. Of course, as a manager, with players in a squad like I’ve got now, it’s difficult. It’s difficult to say that ‘this weekend you’re not playing’.
“Of course, I have to leave players out, never mind from the starting XI but from the squad. But they all have to remember and know they’re going to have to play a part if we’re going to be successful.
He added: “He’s come back bubbly and in good shape. He’s got a big part to play.”