Jesse Lingard further staked his claim to be in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the summer’s European Championship with a man of the match performance in West Ham’s 3-2 victory Leicester at the London stadium on Sunday.
The Manchester United loanee opened the scoring early on with a spectacular volley, and doubled the Hammers’ lead on the stroke of half-time, rolling the ball into an empty net to put David Moyes’ side in a commanding position.
Despite holding on for a 3-2 victory over their top-four rivals, Moyes will undoubtedly be worried about his side’s second half performance as they nearly surrendered a three-goal cushion for the third game in a row.
Lingard returned to the England squad last month and started in the 5-0 victory over San Marino, but was left frustrated in front of goal and failed to score.
With both James Maddison and Jack Grealish both plagued by injuries in recent months, Lingard may now be in a commanding position to make Southgate’s 23-man squad, and West Ham have made no secret of the fact they wish to keep hold of him beyond June.
However, it appears that Lingard’s form has alerted one of United’s rivals, with Daily Star reporting that Arsenal are keen to hijack West Ham’s bid for the player.
The report suggests that Mikel Arteta’s side, who missed out on Lingard in the winter window, will challenge their London rivals for the 28-year-old, who could end up costing as much as £30 million.
Manchester United chose to trigger a one-year extension in the player’s contract shortly before Christmas, despite having struggled for first-team chances, in a bid to cash in this summer.
It is believed that United were originally looking for around £10 million for Lingard, but his form since making the switch to East London may well have trebled that price tag.
The story claims that United snubbed Arsenal’s approach for Lingard in January as they didn’t want to help a top-four rival, however West Ham are now on course for a Champions League finish while the Gunners are languishing in ninth.