Not so long ago, Jesse Lingard was considered one of the most promising players in Europe, outplaying Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku at Manchester United.
However, it looks like he's been one of the most affected by the team's poor performances this season, netting just one goal in 26 appearances across all competitions.
And with his contract extension talks stalled and the fact that he recently signed up with 'Superagent' Mino Raiola, former Manchester United standout Paul Ince claims Lingard is likely leaning towards a move out of Old Trafford.
However, even though he may be 'optimistic' about a potential move, Ince thinks Lingard must improve his game before even thinking about leaving the team:
“Jesse Lingard teaming up with Raiola shows he wants to leave – but he needs to improve his performances before thinking about a move. If you don’t feel the club is going forward the way you like – fine – but there’s no need to play that out publicly. You can do it without anyone knowing. The thing is, if Pogba’s there next month, it’s going to be a huge task for him to win the fans over now. Then you see that Jesse Lingard has signed with that agent, too. I mean, he must be feeling optimistic if he thinks that Raiola could secure him a move to Real Madrid or Juventus!" Ince told Paddy Power.
Raiola has been known for the way he orchestrates the moves of his players and manipulates the market almost at will, so obviously he's not much of a beloved guy amongst teams:
"He’s a massive so-called super agent. I’m not sure why Jesse has signed with him, to be honest. Obviously, by getting involved with him, he must think that he can secure a move in the next year or so, and he’s the man to do it. But Jesse’s not a kid anymore, and ultimately, he needs to improve his performances on the pitch before he can worry about his next move. He’s supposed to be in his prime, but some of his performances are terrible. There’s too much competition for him to be playing every week. He clearly thinks that Raiola is the man to secure him the move away from Old Trafford," Ince concluded.
Lingard is clearly extremely talented, but he's already 27 years old and is yet to breakout as everybody expected, so he better brings his A-game if he wants to be an option for an European giant.