By CandH northern correspondent Terry Robbins
Manchester United will tell Jesse Lingard he must decide in the next fortnight whether he intends to quit Old Trafford.
The 28-year-old midfielder returned to Carrington officially on Monday – a week later than many expected – having been forced to quarantine for ten days after holidaying on the Greek island of Mykonos.
Senior Old Trafford sources, however, have been told us United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer held a brief chat with Jesse and has again told him he would like him to remain a permanent fixture with the Red Devils.
Lingard is pencilled in for more formal talks with United’s transfer guru John Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher in the next 48 hours – with club insiders stating United will demand a definitive answer on his plans before the end of this month – so they can finalise their own spending plans.
United have agreed a £73m fee for Borussia Dortmund and England winger Jadon Sancho, creating a serious dent in their summer transfer budget.
Solskjaer still wants to bring in a new central defender and has been told he can keep any cash he raises from sales.
United are prepared to hand Lingard improved terms, rather than let him run down the remainder of his contract and walk away next year as a free agent.
But they will not countenance the former on-loan Hammers’ favourite dragging things out any longer, and believe interested clubs would kickstart a £20m bidding war if Lingard does not commit himself.
Staff at the club’s Carrington training base state Jesse has given “nothing away” to them so far, but they and Irons fans won’t have to wait much longer judging by the sound of things.