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Glen Johnson on Jesse Lingard: “Jesse and West Ham will be a bit gutted

Glen Johnson believes that Jesse Lingard should have made a permanent transfer to West Ham.
Glen Johnson believes that Jesse Lingard should have made a permanent transfer to West Ham.

The summer transfer window came to a close on Tuesday evening, with Premier League clubs scurrying around to secure some last minute signings to bolster their respective squads. 

Jesse Lingard, who spent the second half of last season excelling at West Ham as they secured a place in this season’s Europa League, was one of the many players heavily linked with a late move. With Lingard back at Manchester United fighting for game time, former Hammer Glen Johnson believes that the England international will be disappointed to have not secured a permanent move to the London Stadium. caught up with the former Liverpool defender to discuss the return of Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Chelsea’s deadline day signing of Saúl Ñíguez and who he believes is the best signing by a Premier League club this summer. 

Jesse Lingard has remained a Manchester United player. Do you think he and West Ham will regret that a permanent transfer to the London Stadium didn’t come to fruition?

“I think both Jesse and West Ham will be a bit gutted. He was enjoying his football, he was playing well and the Hammers loved him so I don’t know why that deal didn’t go through. Surely Manchester United weren’t that desperate to keep hold of him as they’ve signed a couple of attacking players this summer, so for me Jesse is even further down the pecking order that he was this time last year.

“It’s blown my mind how this transfer didn’t happen, but who knows? Maybe there’s the chance for another loan deal in January with hopefully an option to buy at the end of the season. For Jesse personally he’s missed a good opportunity to get himself a good contract and to be a Hammer. I think he’s let one go there.”


One of the attacking players that could limit Jesse Lingard’s chances of playing this season is the returning Cristiano Ronaldo. Do you think United’s rivals - Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea - will now look at them with a raised eyebrow believing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have an extra edge?


“If they had had a chance they all would have loved to have signed him. He’s 36 but he doesn’t play like he’s 36. I think he’s going to help United on the pitch anyway, but more importantly off it. 

“With the Manchester United players that I’ve mentioned before, with the attitude, he’ll obviously slot straight in. For both the younger and the older guys - to add his drive and desire behind them, it’s only going to help everyone, whether he’s starting the games or not.

“If anyone plays a similar sort of game to him and doesn’t want to learn from him then they’re crazy. I’m a big fan of Marcus Rashford to be fair and I think he’s got a great few years coming up as well and Ronaldo can only improve him.”


Chelsea were unable to sign defender Jules Koundé on deadline day from Sevilla. How much of a miss do you think that is, or do you believe they already have a defence capable of aiding a title charge?

“I do think that they have a defence which is good enough for a title winning side already. Well at least on their day they’re good enough. They just need to remain focused, stay determined and they’ll be very hard to beat. 

“However at the same time, when you’ve got the chance to sign yourself a quality centre-half then you’re going to want to do so. I think they’ll be kicking themselves a bit that they didn’t get the Kounde deal over the line, but at the same time having said that, if they can keep their current central defenders fit then I think they will have a good side anyway.”


Premier League odds

One player that Chelsea did sign on deadline day was Saúl Ñíguez from Atletico Madrid. With Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovačić already at the club, where do you think Saúl comes in that pecking order? And do you believe that Chelsea actually needed him in the first place?

“If you get a chance to sign a player of his calibre then you’re going to. He’s not going to turn up from Atletico Madrid to be told that he’s the third or fourth choice central midfielder. He’s obviously been told that he’s going to get plenty of opportunities to play and I believe that he will play in a slightly further forward position than N’Golo Kante.

“We’ve seen from Tuchel before that he will pick the personnel that he thinks is best suited to win a specific game, so not many players are guaranteed to start every single game. He really thinks about the opponents and where their certain weaknesses are before building his team around them. 

“If Saúl is given his opportunity soon and he puts in a few impressive performances then I believe he will nail down his spot.”


Kylian Mbappé failed to get his move to Real Madrid on deadline day. He’s been linked with Liverpool for the past year as well, so with him free next summer to join whoever he pleases, do you think there’s a slim chance that Liverpool could pull off the move?

“It’s going to be a toss up amongst all the big boys isn’t it? Everybody is going to want him if he’s available, however I can’t see how Liverpool can compete with a big bid from Real Madrid as they’ve just saved themselves £180 million by not signing him in August. They’re now £180 million better off to offer him a bigger contract, so it’s hard to see how his other suitors can compete with that. 

“Despite this, you don’t definitely know where he’s going to go. It could even come down to the relationships he has with certain players at other clubs who may try and turn his eye.”


Are there any players out there who you’re surprised didn’t get a move to a bigger club this summer? Hot prospects such as West Ham United’s Declan Rice, Brighton & Hove Albion’s Yves Bissouma and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Adama Traoré all stayed where they were despite purported interest from elsewhere.


“Everything’s about timing and I don’t know how long certain players’ current contracts are. Obviously Declan’s being linked to Chelsea and other clubs for a long, long time. 

“But the one that surprises me is Yves Bissouma. I don’t think he’d be astronomical money and he looks like a fantastic player. Brighton can’t turn down a bid that maybe the likes of West Ham could. I think clubs could have got him for quite a good business deal, so the biggest surprise was probably him.

“Ultimately, it wouldn’t surprise me if he and Declan Rice go at the end of the season.”


Today's Football Tips

There will be close to 250 new player arrivals at Premier League clubs this summer, with transfers reaching over a whopping £1.2billion. Which new player of them all are you most excited to see in action?


“It would probably be someone like Saúl Ñíguez at Chelsea to be honest. 

“You know what Instagram’s like these days - all the clips are popping around off all the new signings - but he looks a serious player. 

“If he can maintain that in the Premier League it’d be impressive. It’s the toughest league in the world without a doubt. It’s always tough for new players to come from other leagues. Some of them are going to get it right, and some of them are going to get it wrong. Hopefully he gets it right and shows us what he’s made of.”


And finally, what would you then say is the best signing of the summer?

“I’d probably say Romelu Lukaku. I think Chelsea have needed that sort of role for a while. They’ve bought a young enough striker who’s banging in goals. He was great in this summer’s international tournament with Belgium and knows how to perform on the big stage. 

“I really think Chelsea are going to put on a competitive title race and they’re going to go deep into many competitions. To do that I think you need a striker like him. It’s good business.

“In hindsight of course Chelsea would never have sold him in the first place. But if they hadn’t sold him, he wouldn’t have turned into the player he is today. If I was the Chief Executive I would be cringing thinking ‘Oh God, we’ve just spent £60m more than we sold him for!’ At the same time, you’re buying a different player at a different time, things move on. It is what it is. 

“If they don’t get it right this time, it’d be super embarrassing. But if they do get it right, I think everyone could live with that.”


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