Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has backed West Ham’s decision to bring in Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard on loan for the rest of the season.
The Hammers have no option to buy the 28-year-old, and will also have to pay a £1.5m loan fee, but Merson thinks that other clubs in the Premier League may rue the decision not to pursue the England international as well:
“If he can rediscover his form, I feel he could be the one where other teams are scratching their head thinking, ‘why didn’t we sign Lingard?’ David Moyes has brought younger players in who are full of energy and he has got them playing his style of football. I was disappointed in them against Liverpool and I expected more from them but he’s still getting his team together. Lingard’s still a good player and has been training well at United. West Ham could have a diamond there.”
It is a calculated gamble by Moyes. Lingard has shown himself to be a good player in the past, having proved very influential for England at the 2018 World Cup, but he has struggled hugely over the past couple of years.
Personal issues are believed to have played a role in that but, it must be pointed out, that he has played only 11 games in the last 12 months. It may take him a while to get up to speed. Hopefully, for West Ham, Merson’s prediction about the player proves to be correct.