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Jesse Lingard is seemingly a wanted man this month. The Manchester United winger has been linked with several clubs in England and indeed throughout the rest of Europe.
It comes as his contract at Old Trafford rapidly winds down. Lingard will be a free agent in the summer. But according to the Mirror, Newcastle want to land the attacker on loan this month.
The Magpies are in desperate need of reinforcements all over the pitch. But the Man Utd forward is reportedly their top priority.
The struggling club have already strengthened this month. Both Chris Wood and Kieran Trippier have made the switch to St James’ Park. But manager Eddie Howe undoubtedly needs further signings to fully escape any relegation fears.
Would Jesse Lingard be a good fit for Newcastle?
First and foremost, Lingard is an England international. A signing of his stature would be a huge statement from Newcastle, even with their recent takeover. The Newcastle faithful would welcome his signature with open arms.
Moreover, the forward is undoubtedly wasting his talents on the Man Utd bench. He has played just 88 minutes of Premier League football this season. Add to that his three Champions League appearances, and 77 total minutes in the FA Cup and League Cup combined, and it has been a hugely frustrating campaign for Lingard.
When used, however, his talents are there for all to see. His two goals this season have come against former club West Ham, and potential new club Newcastle. They arrived in back-to-back games, and both were of the very highest quality.
In his limited appearances this season, Lingard’s versatility has also been on show. He has featured all along the front line. That includes roles in left-wing, right-wing, attacking midfield, centre forward and even as a second striker.
Howe has relied on a 4-3-3 formation in possession of late. That has turned into a more structured 4-5-1 when out of possession. Wood has come in to replace the injured Callum Wilson in the lone striker role. Ryan Fraser and Allan Saint-Maximin meanwhile occupy the two wide spots more often than not.
Where would Lingard fit in?
Howe definitely needs more squad depth, but Lingard will most certainly be given a leading role should he join. That will most likely come on the wing, but a place in behind Wood shouldn’t be ruled out. A system built around the England international is also a possibility, such is his potential impact.
He is an expert dribbler, and can pick out a key pass when called upon. The Man Utd man also has an eye for a goal, and a spectacular goal at that.
Is Eddie Howe steadying the ship?
While it hasn’t been an immediate impact, Howe looks to have the beginnings of a turnaround in form. The Magpies are unbeaten in their last three league matches.
Newcastle’s next encounter is with fellow strugglers Everton. And Howe’s men will definitely be better equipped should they have Lingard within their ranks.
If any further motivation is needed to bring in the forward, one can look back on his sensational loan spell at West Ham. He made the switch to east London this time last year. Across 16 matches, he scored nine goals and chipped in with five assists.