The decision to keep Jesse Lingard at Manchester United next season or send him out on loan again could prove to be an incredibly difficult one for Louis van Gaal when he eventually takes his seat up as Manchester United manager.
Out of all the Manchester United players that went out on loan last season, there was a lot of talk about both Wilfried Zaha and Nick Powell, but looking back retrospectively I believe the real star performer on loan from Manchester United was Jesse Lingard.
He played a major role in the fortunes of two Championship sides last season and arguably earned the right to be named as one of the league’s top performers.
At Birmingham, he had what only can be described as a dream debut, because I don’t know what else you would label scoring four goals in your first game at a club – it was astonishing. And as it turned out, Birmingham stayed a Championship side purely down to their goal difference.
At Brighton, he was tabled a different challenge with a bit more expectation. However, at the time he signed, the Seagulls were a far cry from a guaranteed play-off contender. Nevertheless, he played a huge role in their final push for the play-offs and on the last day of the season obtained the 6th position in the Championship table. Unfortunately, they came up against a very good Derby side and were knocked out comprehensively 6-2, but Lingard did grab one of the Brighton goals.
At Manchester United now, the emphasis on youth development has seemingly been put on hold with a rumoured warchest of £200million to spend this summer, so what does this mean for Lingard?
He has, whilst on loan, proven everything he can to earn a chance in the United first-team, however, it will be difficult for him when facing competition he already had plus potentially new bodies coming through the door.
Although he is potentially in front of Wilfried Zaha and Nick Powell on merit, another loan move might be on the cards for Lingard which, for a player turning 22 in December, will question his long-term future at the club.