‘Financially challenged’ Barcelona to sign ‘free agent’ Lingard…

“An affordable option to meet FFP”

Premier League (PL) “dancing machine” Jesse Lingard has been linked to Barcelona.

Spain’s Sport reported on July 7 (KST) that “Barcelona are currently unable to sign new players in the winter transfer window due to financial problems and Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules. However, the club’s appeal remains strong not only in Spain but also across Europe, which could lead to Lingard joining Barcelona.”

A highly touted former Manchester United youth product, Lindegaard spent time on loan at Leicester City, Birmingham City and Derby County before breaking into the squad under Louis van Gaal. He scored six goals and provided four assists in 40 official appearances in 2015-16, followed by a solid backup role in 2016-17 with five goals and three assists in 42 games, and a career-high season in 2017-18 with 13 goals and seven assists in 48 games.

However, his place at United became increasingly unstable. In 2018-19, he failed to build on the previous season’s rise with five goals and four assists in 36 games, and in 2019-20, he was gradually reduced to a substitute role with no guaranteed playing time. By 2020-21, Lingard was completely out of the picture and had to go out on loan to West Ham in the second half of the season.

The move to West Ham was a ‘stroke of genius’. Lingard quickly earned a starting spot and became a key part of the team. In his 16 games for the Hammers, Lingard scored a whopping nine goals and provided five assists. It was a performance no one expected.

He returned to the Hammers on a high, but his position in the team hadn’t changed, so he moved to Nottingham Forest ahead of the 2022-23 season. However, he failed to replicate the glory of his West Ham days and was eventually released after 20 appearances, scoring two goals and providing two assists.

As a free agent, Lingard had a number of clubs interested in him. The likes of David Moyes’ West Ham and Steven Gerrard’s Al Ittifaq in Saudi Arabia were among those who expressed interest in him. However, no deal was reached and Lingard has been on the move for about five months without a team.

Then, out of the blue, news broke. Lingard is reportedly interested in Barcelona. “Lingard wants to return to his former glory and thinks Barcelona would be a great stepping stone,” says Sport, “He is a free agent and if he can negotiate a deal for less than €2 million, the club will be able to register him under the FFP. He has enough experience to fit in quickly with Xavi Hernandez’s team and would be an affordable option,” the report said.

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