Lingard travelled to London from Manchester late last night with the two clubs finalising the terms of his loan move until the end of the season. The 28-year-old was this morning undergoing his medial with the Hammers and will only feature against Liverpool on Sunday if the registration was completed before noon today.
West Ham, who brought Said Benrahma’s £25million permanent move from Brentford forward from the summer in order to free up the loan spot for Lingard, will pay a £1.5million loan fee to United as well as covering the midfielder’s wages, thought to be in excess of £100,000-a-week. Negotiations were said to be fraught and close to collapsing at one point as the Hammers wrestled with whether or not to pay the loan fee required, but finally a deal was agreed in principle last night and was being signed off this morning.
After a strong start to the season, the Hammers see it as a price worth paying to ensure their rise into the Premier League’s European places this week is not undermined by a lack of depth.
West Ham have the chance to make it seven wins from seven in January when they face a resurgent Liverpool in Stratford on Sunday, though manager David Moyes is wary that their form could slip rather suddenly should a couple of key players suffer a dip in performance or fitness.
Lingard will not waltz into Moyes’s side, just another sign of how the Scot has progressed the club. Too often in the past hopes have been pinned on one ill-equipped arrival to salvage things in east London. Lingard, a player with 24 England caps and more than 200 appearances for Manchester United, has been brought in to compliment Moyes’s squad, not transform it. He will fight for his place like any other player, with fierce competition in the shape of Pablo Fornals, Manuel Lanzini and Benrahma.
While being a departure from Moyes’s recent signings, players plucked from the Championship or unknown gems from faraway leagues, Lingard still fits the bill. Having played just three games for Manchester United all season, none of which have come in the Premier League, he has a point to prove over the second half of the season. The United academy graduate, who only played in pre-season during Moyes’s time at the club before going out on loan, declared “Hammer Time” on his social media last night.
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Furthermore, having not played for England since the Nations League finals in 2019, Lingard will have hopes of breaking into Gareth Southgate’s squad for this summer’s European Championships if he can help a West Ham side already on the up.
Moyes does not want to stop here before Monday’s deadline. The West Ham boss is keen to add another striker this month in order to support injury-prone Michail Antonio, his only senior striker following the sale of Sebastien Haller early in the window.
There is interest in a loan move for RB Leipzig’s South Korean striker Hwang Hee-chan as well as Stade de Reims forward Boulaye Dia, though neither deal is close to completion and Moyes is hesitant to waste money on a last minute option. There is an understanding between Moyes and co-owner David Sullivan that they would rather gamble having just Antonio until the end of the season than bring in the wrong player simply to make up the numbers.