Jesse Lingard has issued a stern response to pundits, including Jamie Carragher, claiming he only went to Nottingham Forest for the money.
West Ham had been hoping to snap up Lingard following the expiry of his Manchester United contract earlier this summer. The Irons were hoping his successful loan spell at the London Stadium in 2021 would convince him to re-join.
However, West Ham couldn’t get the transfer over the line. And this saw numerous Premier League rivals come in for Lingard’s signature.
Tottenham, Everton and Newcastle were all linked with the Englishman. But it was Nottingham Forest who agreed a deal with him.
The transfer went through on July 22, with Lingard penning a one-year contract at the City Ground.
Sky Sports claim the deal is worth £115,000 a week plus incentives. But other outlets suggest he could take home up to £200,000 per week.
Lingard is Forest’s highest earner by some way. And Carragher recently criticised the attacking midfielder for choosing money over his next club’s reputation.
“He went there for the money,” Carragher said on the most recent Overlap Fan Debate. “I love Nottingham Forest, that they are back [in the Premier League], but if any footballer is picking Nottingham Forest right now, before West Ham and what they’ve done in the last two or three years, they’ve obviously gone there for a few quid.”
Jesse Lingard reacts to pundit criticism
But Lingard says this isn’t the case. During an appearance on Soccer AM, the player was asked about his switch to the East Midlands. He said (via the Daily Mail): “I could’ve gone abroad for a lot more money, life changing money.
“For me it’s nonsense, I don’t like to read into a lot of stuff too much, it was my decision.
“The owners were very strong in their approach and went overboard and when I saw that kind of appreciation it’s hard to say no. I WhatsApp them and it’s like a family.
“They’ve showed me so much love getting here in the first place and that was one of the most importance factors.”
It’s clear Lingard got the right feeling after speaking to Forest officials about a potential move there. And he will be hoping to perform there to get into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup in Qatar.
Despite Lingard’s comments, it is still surprising that the 29-year-old didn’t end up at West Ham.
He formed a fantastic partnership with the likes of Declan Rice and Michail Antonio during his six-month spell in a Hammers shirt. And West Ham would have offered him a handsome wage to go back there.
But it seems Forest gave Lingard the chance to earn more with them and this, alongside the love he received from club chiefs, changed his mind.
Meanwhile, Everton are reportedly confident of hijacking Forest’s move for Wolves ace Morgan Gibbs-White.
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