Jesse Lingard has completed a free transfer to Nottingham Forest, penning a one-year deal with the club.
Having left Manchester United upon the expiry of his contract this summer, Lingard has been the subject of plenty of transfer speculation, with West Ham seemingly linked the strongest.
But it’s the 2021/22 Championship play-off winners who have snapped up Lingard, beating West Ham to the signature of the midfielder who enjoyed such a fruitful loan spell in London in early 2021.
Many anticipated that Lingard would return to the London Stadium as a result of him rediscovering his best form in a loan spell during the second half of the 2020/21 season, but it was confirmed yesterday that he has instead joined Forest.
The Daily Star report that the 29-year-old will earn a mammoth £200,000-per-week wage while at the club, securing a statement signing upon their return to the Premier League for the first time since 1999.
They further state that West Ham had offered Lingard a contract, but Forest’s offer was simply much larger and they missed out as a result, with Steve Cooper’s side splashing the cash for their 11th signing of the summer.
Lingard featured just 21 times for United last season after opting to stay for the final year of his contract and fight for his place in the squad, prompting him to look for a fresh start upon becoming a free agent this summer.
Forest’s decision to pull the trigger on a deal involving such a large sum of money has raised a lot of eyebrows, but it undoubtedly secures them a Premier League proven attacking threat who can change games on his own, provides a wealth of experience and has won a number of silverware.
For Lingard, a move gives him the chance to stake his claim ahead of the 2022 Qatar World Cup this winter, having lost his place as a regular in recent years with not playing so frequently.
He joins former United teammate Dean Henderson at Forest, but arrives at the City Ground with a massive expectation to deliver having been given a wage packet that trumps several top stars in football.
Kounde to Chelsea DONE DEAL (Football Terrace)
10. Ruben Dias – Manchester City – £115,000-per-week (Spotrac)
9. Son Heung-min – Tottenham – £140,000-per-week (Spotrac)
8. Bernardo Silva – Manchester City – £150,000-per-week (Spotrac)
7. Alisson Becker – Liverpool – £150,000-per-week (Spotrac)
6. Kai Havertz – Chelsea – £150,000-per-week (Spotrac)
5. Casemiro – Real Madrid – £162,729-per-week (Spotrac)
4. Romelu Lukaku – Inter Milan – £169,500-per-week (Capology)
3. Paul Pogba – Juventus – £169,500-per-week (Capology)
2. Bruno Fernandes – Manchester United – £180,000-per-week (Spotrac)
1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Barcelona – £189,328-per-week (Capology)
A good place to start is near the top. Lingard’s move to Forest has seen him leapfrog former teammate Fernandes and his £180k weekly wage at United, while also bettering Aubameyang’s current deal with Barcelona, following his move from Arsenal at the beginning of 2022.
Casemiro has just won the Champions League for a fifth time with Real Madrid, but now earns almost £30,000 a week less than Lingard.
Meanwhile, Forest’s new number 10 is set to earn a staggering £50,000 a week more than City’s Bernardo Silva, and £60,000 a week more than Son, who won the Premier League Golden Boot for 2021/22.
Sure, it’s a lot of money, but you can’t knock Forest for coughing up when Lingard is a man who they feel could genuinely keep them in the Premier League next season. If he does, his wages will have proven an incredibly worthwhile investment.
Even if he doesn’t, the fact he has only penned a one-year deal means both parties can move on at the end of the 2022/23 season. And you certainly cannot blame Lingard for taking an offer that he feels suits him best.
It will be fascinating to see what he can do as the lynchpin in Cooper’s team this season.