Barcelona will be at the front of the queue should Jesse Lingard decide to leave Manchester United once his contract expires in 2022. AC Milan are expected to be the Catalan side’s closest competitor with a number of clubs from England also expected to join the race for the English midfielder.
Lingard has rejected the Red Devils’ offer of a new contract, with the midfielder opting to weigh up all the options before making a decision on his future. The 28-year-old is keen to see if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer offers him regular football before committing his long-term future to the Red Devils.
The England international spent the second-half of last season on loan with West Ham. Lingard impressed with the London club, scoring nine goals and providing four assists in 16 appearances, which saw Solskjaer retain him for this campaign.
However, the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho from Juventus and Borussia Dortmund respectively, has seen Lingard again relegated to the bench. The Englishman has made just one start this campaign in the Carabao Cup, and his game time in the league has been limited to just 45 minutes thus far.
According to the Daily Mail, Lingard will look to leave the club if his plight does not change and have made Barcelona and Milan the favourites for his signature. The two clubs are monitoring the situation and will open talks in January, when Lingard will be allowed to speak to and agree a pre-contract with clubs outside England.
Lingard will be an ideal signing for Barcelona, who are strapped for cash. They completed three free transfers in the summer, and are certain to be looking for deals that will not involve putting forward a transfer fee. Milan are also in a similar situation and will hope they can convince Lingard to choose them over the La Liga giants.
However, the Three Lions star will not be short of suitors with a number of Premier League clubs also expected to enter the race. West Ham are among his admirers, while the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal have also been mentioned in the past.