Rio Ferdinand says he is surprised that Jesse Lingard is still a Manchester United player after the January transfer window closed.
The 29-year-old has barely featured for the Red Devils this season, and it was expected that he would leave Old Trafford in the search for more first-team opportunities, but he will now see out the remainder of his contract at the club. Ferdinand feels the player should have tried to get a move a lot earlier:
“I wouldn’t be happy if I was a player. It’s almost like he’s wasted a whole year of his career, a whole season of his career has been wasted. He hasn’t played hardly any games, hasn’t been involved. He went to West Ham and done fantastically well, everyone would have wanted to take him outside of probably the top four – and then goes back to Man United and doesn’t play. I was just baffled that he went back to Man United in the first place after having that taste of success, that taste of playing every week.”
“Either he was promised by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he’d get more game time, or I don’t know what it was. And then this window you’d think he’d be doing all he can to get out. Maybe he took too long in getting to that point of wanting to leave. Did he ask to leave at the beginning of the window or make a decision later on in the window that he wanted to leave and by then other situations took it out of his hands maybe? I don’t know. But you look at his career and I just think the last year or two has just been wasted by just sticking around at Man United when he’s never going to play games. It’s just crazy.”
It appears that Lingard did want a transfer in January but United made it pretty difficult for him to leave. West Ham were said to be interested but the Red Devils didn’t want to strengthen a rival. Newcastle were also heavily linked with the England international, but they were reportedly priced out of a move.
There is a feeling among some in the media that United were sending out a message with their stance on Lingard. The player is running down his contract and it seems they don’t want others following a similar path.