West Ham close in on deal to sign former Man Utd star on a free transfer in late summer move

West Ham are hoping to add further squad depth as they embark on yet another European adventure this season

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West Ham United have enjoyed an excellent start to life without former captain Declan Rice which has seen them win three of their opening four league games. The Hammers have recorded victories over big-spending Chelsea, Brighton and Luton Town and new signings James Ward-Prowse and Edson Alvarez have already made a strong first impression.

West Ham have also secured the signing of Ajax winger Mohamed Kudus who is expected to play a key role in the frontline in the coming months. 

But West Ham’s transfer business may not be finished just yet, despite the closure of the transfer window, as they eye up a move for a former fan favourite on a free transfer. Jesse Lingard is the name on the radar for David Moyes’ side and the former England international has been training with the Hammers throughout the summer months after the expiration of his contract with Nottingham Forest.

Lingard struggled to find his best form at the City Ground last season and he failed to score or provide a single assist in his 17 appearances for Steve Copper’s side. He has also played just three times in 2023, with two of those appearances being cameos from the substitutes bench.

However, West Ham fans will have much more fond memories of Lingard during his time at the London Stadium and he was one of the team’s standout performers during the second half of the 2020/21 season, when he arrived on loan from Manchester United.

During his previous stint at West Ham, Lingard produced arguably the best form of his career and he registered nine goals and five assists in just 16 games to help the club to a sixth place finish.

Lingard was heavily linked with a move back to West Ham that summer, but he ended up playing one final season at his boyhood club Manchester United, before leaving on a free transfer for further first team exposure.

The transfer has divided opinion with the West Ham faithful on social media, some fans believe the move could revive the players’ career due to his previous success in London, while others believe his best days are behind him.

West Ham are keen to add squad depth to their team as they prepare to embark on yet another European campaign this season, as they enter the Europa League group stage. David Moyes has praised Lingard for his attitude in training, but doubts over his fitness remain an issue.

Moyes told The Athletic: “Jesse’s doing quite well and he’s getting his shape back. But there will be no discussion on Jesse yet. When we’re ready, we will do; but he’s working hard and he’s shown a great attitude to his work. It’s taken a bit of time to get him back into condition.”

The positive is that Lingard now has this international break to really catch up with regards to his fitness as his former England team mates prepare to take on Ukraine and Scotland.

West Ham have until 13 September to register their final Premier League squad before the January transfer window and it is likely that they will make a decision on the player in the coming days.

The former Manchester United star was also linked with a move to the MLS with Wayne Rooney’s DC United, but the move fell through due to “contract demands” according to the Daily Mail.