Former Man United man who ‘agreed’ to join Newcastle United hints at summer move
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Lingard joined Forest last summer following his release from Manchester United, signing a one-year contract reportedly worth up to £200,000-a-week. But after registering no goals or assists in 17 Premier League matches for Nottingham Forest and starting just two matches after the winter World Cup break, the club opted not to extend his contract.
Lingard was even linked with a move to Turkey after just half a season at Forest but a deal failed to materialise. Now he is free to find a new club as he assesses his options, one of which is a move to Saudi Arabia.
“I’m considering all options,” Lingard told Sky Sports. “I’ve never ruled out any team or club out, so for me it’s just picking the right team and it’s got to be right for me.
“I just want to play football at the end of the day and that’s all I want to do. Obviously the project has got to be well suited for me, the team’s got to be moving in the right direction but just regular game-time – I’m still hungry.”
The first month of the summer transfer window has been dominated by business done by Saudi Pro League clubs who don’t have to adhere to the same financial restrictions of clubs in Europe. The Saudi Public Investment Fund, who own an 80% stake in Newcastle, recently acquired a 75% stake in four Saudi Pro League clubs - Al Ahil, Al Hilal, Al Ittihad and Al Nassr.
Since PIF’s takeover of the four clubs, several major deals have been completed with Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante joining Al Ittihad and Kalidou Koulibaly and Ruben Neves joining Al Hilal, with more set to follow.
The ambitious and lucrative recruitment drive has certainly caught Lingard’s attention, as he added: “Saudi Arabia are doing big things, and in the next couple of years or so, it will be one of the hotspots to go to.
“I’m not really surprised that the big names are moving out there. Like I say, they’re doing big things and it’s something I would consider as well – I’ve not ruled that out either.
“It’s got to be right for me at the end of the day. I’ve got to go on my gut feeling but I’m still hungry and striving for success.”
Lingard was heavily linked with a move to Newcastle in January 2022 after ‘agreeing’ to join the club on loan from Manchester United. The deal failed to materialise after it was blocked by Man United.
“I wanted to go on loan again in January because I wasn’t playing again,” Lingard told the Diary of a CEO podcast earlier this year. “Newcastle was on the cards in January. The deal was done - everything - but the United squad was not big enough.
“A couple of players went out on loan and when it came to me, John Murtough [Manchester United director of football] rang me and was like, ‘no, you’re not going on loan.’ I was like, ‘he’s on loan. Let me go and enjoy my football. I’m not playing here so let me go on loan.
“I want to play football.’ He was like, ‘what do you want? Days off?’ I said, ‘no. I want to go play football.’ They stopped the loan, obviously I was p*****.”
Lingard was frozen out at Man United for the second half of the 2021-22 season before his release. While Newcastle remained interested in the player last summer, they weren’t willing to compete with the reported £200,000-per-week wages Forest offered.