Jesse Lingard appears to be “thinking about a move” away from Manchester United, admits Paul Ince, but the England international is considered to be “optimistic if he thinks Mino Raiola could secure him a switch to Real Madrid or Juventus”.
The 27-year-old midfielder has linked up with a so-called ‘super agent’ who already represents some of the finest talent on the planet, including Old Trafford team-mate Paul Pogba.
That agreement is considered to be a nod towards a future transfer for a player who has seen talk of a new contract with United mooted this season.
Lingard has struggled for end product in 2019-20, having gone 12 months without a Premier League goal or assist, but has offered encouragement with some of his recent displays.
It may be that any thoughts of fresh terms have been shelved at the Theatre of Dreams, with Ince of the opinion that a player who has also started to generate exit talk could have seen his head turned.
The former United star believes a move may be sought, but feels a divisive figure will need to rein in his ambition if he believes that Raiola can land him a switch to another European heavyweight.
Ince told Paddy Power: “Jesse Lingard teaming up with Raiola shows he wants to leave – but he needs to improve his performances before thinking about a move.
“If you don’t feel the club is going forward the way you like – fine – but there’s no need to play that out publicly. You can do it without anyone knowing. The thing is, if Pogba’s there next month, it’s going to be a huge task for him to win the fans over now.
“Then you see that Jesse Lingard has signed with that agent, too. I mean, he must be feeling optimistic if he thinks that Raiola could secure him a move to Real Madrid or Juventus!
“He’s a massive so-called super agent. I’m not sure why Jesse has signed with him to be honest.
“Obviously by getting involved with him he must think that he can secure a move in the next year or so, and he’s the man to do it. But Jesse’s not a kid anymore, and ultimately, he needs to improve his performances on the pitch before he can worry about his next move.
“He’s supposed to be in his prime, but some of his performances are terrible. There’s too much competition for him to be playing every week.
“He clearly thinks that Raiola is the man to secure him the move away from Old Trafford.”
Lingard has taken in 26 appearances for United across all competitions this season, but has mustered only one goal in the Europa League and lost his place in the England squad.