Therefore, it seemed likely that the 28-year-old would be allowed to walk away from Old Trafford this month.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will block a January exit for midfielder Jesse Lingard as he believes the Englishman can still play a role at the club this season.
Lingard is yet to play a single minute in either the Premier League or Champions League this year and instead has been forced to settle for just three appearances across the domestic cups.
There has been plenty of interest in Lingard’s services. The likes of Sheffield United, Newcastle and Real Sociedad have all been linked, and Sky Sports News have thrown Ligue 1’s Nice into the mix as well.
However, The Telegraph specifically reject the idea of contact with Nice and instead insist that Solskjaer is not keen on pushing Lingard out the exit door this month.
It’s said that Solskjaer still sees value in Lingard as a squad player – someone to plug the holes when the first-team players need a rest or are unavailable – so he does not want to let the midfielder leave the club just yet.
Once this season comes to a close, Lingard will be encouraged to explore other options. He will enter the final year of his contract and United have already used their extension clause to stop him walking away for free this summer.
Instead of offloading Lingard, United will put their focus in clearing out other unwanted players. Timothy Fosu-Mensah has already sealed a permanent move to Bayer Leverkusen, and there are a number of fringe players who could follow suit.
United hope to sell defender Marcos Rojo and goalkeeper Sergio Romero, with the desire to sell Rojo particularly strong as his contract expires at the end of the season. Romero’s is also scheduled to expire this summer, but United have a one-year extension clause to trigger if they want.
Centre-back Phil Jones is also on the market, although United are aware that his £100,000-a-week wages may make a January move impossible and will even harm his hopes of leaving next summer.
The Red Devils may also be waiting until the summer to find permanent buyers for Diogo Dalot and Andreas Pereira, who are currently on loan with AC Milan and Lazio respectively.
Neither are expected to return to Old Trafford, and the hope is that the pair can entice some offers over the next six months.
There’s a lot of uncertainty concerning outgoings at United, but one thing which is certain is that striker Odion Ighalo, who has just nine Premier League minutes to his name this year, will leave the club once his loan expires on January 31.