Manchester United have been beastly in the year’s transfer market with a number of notable new signings coming on board, not least Bruno Fernandes from Sporting CP and Odion Ighalo, who’s currently on loan from the Chinese Super League.
The latter has every prospect of staying on until the end of the current campaign – per United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær – scheduled to make a return in June, according to reports, having stalled in mid-March (as with other major leagues in Europe) due to the global coronavirus pandemic. As it currently stands, however, the Reds are not far from completing their squad; with the added incentive of needing to sell players as well as sign new ones.
Asides from having to spend wisely, a worrisome consideration presents itself for midfielder Jesse Lingard, who finds himself on the cusp of languishing in limbo on the back of a league campaign which hasn’t been kind for him – entering the 18th month absent of a goal or assist. And as it stands, the Englishman is yet to make a start for United in the league since New Year’s Day.
The only starts that have come are in the cup ties at Club Brugge and Derby County while he was nowhere to be seen against Linz in Austria in March before the European club competition also ground to a halt. Yet with no indication that Premier League substitution lists will expand for the possible restart next month, Lingard remains the uncertainty of an unpredictable future. He is at the back of the queue in a fully-fit squad whose attack and midfield areas seem to be United’s only concern at this stage.
Solskjaer, Jose Mourinho, and Louis van Gaal have all made room for Lingard but now there is no room. Lingard has played as a 10 and United have Bruno Fernandes to occupy that role, with Jack Grealish a possibility next season. Lingard has often played on the right but Daniel James is more suitable and United have earmarked Jadon Sancho as the solution to that problem position.
As the lone penny in the arcade teetering over the edge, it will be a wrench for Solskjær and Lingard if he does drive out of Carrington for the last time in a transfer window over the next year. The Neville brothers shed tears in front of Sir Alex Ferguson when Phil agreed to join Everton and there were hysterical reactions to Danny Welbeck’s sale from some United youth anoraks, but neither were massively missed. Such are the realities in this game that is so loved.