Barcelona and AC Milan are at the front of the queue to sign Jesse Lingard on a free transfer next summer with Manchester United star likely to leave having rejected contract offer as he looks to seal spot in World Cup squad
Barcelona and AC Milan will be at the front of the queue to sign Jesse Lingard if he leaves Manchester United on a free transfer next summer.
Lingard rejected the offer of a new contract from United last month so he could weigh up his options before making a decision on his future.
The 28-year-old England midfielder wanted to see how much playing time he was given by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following the signings of Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho, having spent the second half of last season on loan at West Ham.
However, Lingard has made just one start this season – against West Ham in the Carabao Cup – and has spent more time on the pitch for his country than he has for his club.
Lingard wants to maximise his chances of being in Gareth Southgate's squad for the World Cup next year after narrowly missing out on the Euros this summer.
It now appears as though he will see out the rest of his contract until June and leave on a free transfer, ending an association with United stretching back more than 20 years.
Solskjaer wants to keep Lingard and United could yet make an improved offer – or even try to sell him in January – but the final decision will lie with the player.
He can open talks with foreign clubs from January 1 and it's understood that Barcelona and Milan have both expressed a strong interest in signing him as a free agent.
Meanwhile, United captain Harry Maguire on Wednesday confirmed that he has not trained since suffering a calf injury last month, meaning Solskjaer will definitely be without his two first-choice centre-backs at Leicester on Saturday.
Raphael Varane has already been ruled out with a groin strain and Maguire said: 'It's getting there but I still haven't trained yet with the squad. It's obviously a frustrating injury for me, but I'm progressing and I will be back on the pitch soon.'