West Ham first team coach Kevin Nolan has suggested the club will offer a contract to free agent Jesse Lingard.
Lingard was released by Nottingham Forest at the end of June following one season at the City Ground. The former England international starred for the Hammers during a loan spell in the second half of the 2020-21 campaign, when he scored nine goals in 16 appearances.
That purple patch almost helped propel the East London side into a Champions League qualification spot that campaign, while it was anticipated he would join on a permanent deal from Manchester United – where his contract was due to expire the following year.
However, no deal came to fruition and Lingard remained at Old Trafford – where he was a peripheral figure throughout the campaign. He left his boyhood club at the end of his contract and joined Forest as a free agent.But he struggled to impress at the newly-promoted club – failing to find the net in the Premier League.
Lingard has been keeping his fitness levels up by training with several MLS clubs. But neither DC United nor Inter Miami will be formalizing a contract offer for the player. That has led to the suggestion that the 30-year-old could return to the London Stadium as a free agent.
Nolan, a first-team coach at the Hammers under David Moyes, hinted ahead of his side’s clash against Chelsea on Sunday that a deal for Lingard could come to fruition: “Listen, he had a fantastic six months with us. He re-energised himself, he re-energised the club and he did what he needed to do. I think because of that, the gaffer has said to him: ‘Come in and train with us.’
“He’s not quite up to match fitness, at the minute. I think we will continue to assess as we go along. But Jesse, the first day you see him, and he says it: ‘I feel like it’s my second home and I feel like I need to be here to go again.’ If it works for both I think, it will happen. But that will be up to the boss. All we have to do is sort of see how he does over the next couple of weeks.”
Earlier this summer, Lingard spoke of the need for a “project” which suits him and understands why other Premier League stars have already opted for the Saudi Pro League – leading to suggestions that he was open to a move to the Middle East.