Barcelona and AC Milan target Manchester United star ahead of summer contract expiry

Manchester United could see one of their stars go for free next summer.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20: Jesse Lingard of Manchester United looks on during the warm up prior to the UEFA Champions League group F match between Manchester United and Atalanta at Old Trafford on October 20, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard is reportedly attracting interest from European giants Barcelona and AC Milan, according to ESPN.

The 28-year-old was out in the cold at Old Trafford before a loan move to West Ham last season revived his career as he scored nine goals and provided five assists during his time in the capital.

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The Hammers were keen to see Lingard return to the club on a permanent deal, but the midfielder remained with his boyhood club, however he is yet to be rewarded for his loyalty.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Declan Rice of West Ham United celebrates with team mate Jesse Lingard after scoring his team's third goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Southampton at London Stadium on May 23, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by John Sibley - Pool/Getty Images)

Despite scoring twice in five Premier League fixtures for Manchester United this season, he is yet to start a match and is thought to be preparing to leave Manchester once his contract expires next summer.

Lingard has already rejected an extension from the Red Devils and is now able to speak to foreign clubs in January - with Barcelona and AC Milan sniffing around.

Manchester United’s decision to keep Lingard during the summer is looking like a poor decision given his current contract situation.

According to Mirror Online, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer's side had set a £30 million asking price for Lingard over the summer - a price-tag that West Ham had refused to match.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 11: Jesse Lingard of Manchester United celebrates after scoring their side's fourth goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on September 11, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

If either Barcelona or AC Milan can agree a pre-contract deal with Lingard once the January transfer window opens then Manchester United fans may feel like they have missed out on a lot of money for a player that has barely featured this season.

The Catalan club are also reportedly interested in bringing Red Devils’ rival winger Raheem Sterling to Camp Nou, with the 26-year-old frustrated with his lack of game time under Pep Guardiola in recent months.

However, Manchester City have slapped a £50 million price-tag on Sterling and Barcelona’s current financial crisis may mean they will set their sights on the cheaper option of Jesse Lingard.

Who else is interested in Jesse Lingard?

As well as AC Milan and Barcelona, Lingard is wanted by a host of Premier League clubs.

West Ham have been heavily linked with the England star since he departed the club at the end of last season and at one point he looked set for a permanent return to London, however eventually opted to stay at Old Trafford.

Now that Lingard has made his feelings clear about leaving the Red Devils, the Hammers may make a second attempt at signing their former loanee once his contract expires.

Similarly, Everton and Newcastle United were both keen on signing the midfielder, with the Toffees gaining the advantage when it was reported that the 28-year-old was hoping to remain in the north-west if he was to leave his boyhood club.