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Glen Johnson on Lingard to West Ham: “If he genuinely wanted it, then it would have been done”

Glen Johnson believes that Jesse Lingard would already be a West Ham player if he wanted to be one.
Glen Johnson believes that Jesse Lingard would already be a West Ham player if he wanted to be one.

With just over a fortnight remaining of the January transfer window, the future of many Premier League players remains unclear. Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard, who enjoyed a fruitful loan spell with West Ham United last season, is one of the many players who’s been linked with a move away in the January window and is currently linked with a return to the London Stadium. BettingOdds.com have been speaking to former hammer Glen Johnson regarding why he believes Lingard may not make a permanent move to David Moyes’ side, West Ham’s hunt for a new striker and who his player of the season is. 

The speculation continues to grow regarding Jesse Lingard’s future amid interest from West Ham. Do you believe that Lingard would guarantee himself a starting role if he was to make the move to the London Stadium and do you believe if the player really wanted the move himself that it would have happened already?

“I think if Jesse Lingard really wanted the move himself then it would have happened already. If he genuinely wanted it, then it would have been done. He’s not playing at Manchester United. Everyone loved him at West Ham. So if the player wanted to do it, it doesn’t sound like a very difficult deal to do. You can only imagine that he’s trying to stay at Manchester United for whatever reason. I would guess that it’s Jesse that didn’t want to do it and go to anybody else. If you were Manchester United you would sell him. And if you were West Ham you would sign him. I think he would be in the West Ham starting XI. I don’t think it would be guaranteed. If he gets there and plays like he did previously he’d nail down a place but I do think they’ve got some good players in that position. I don’t think he would be a guaranteed starter but if he hits the form that he was in before then yes he will be.”

Both Liverpool’s Divock Origi and Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah are linked with a move to West Ham in January. Do you believe your former club should be looking for a striker who would command a starting berth rather than play second fiddle to Michail Antonio?

“I believe West Ham should be looking for a striker who would command a starting berth rather than play second fiddle to Michail Antonio. Michail does have his injuries and I know he scores some goals and he helps them work hard from the front but I think you need an out and out striker, that’s technically good in front of goal, that can score goals out of nothing and can be more of a play-the-ball striker rather than a workhorse. They should have someone who can work with Antonio or certainly be available when he’s not fit.”

What have you made of the performances of Ibrahima Konaté when he’s deputised for either Joel Matip or Virgil van Dijk? Do you believe he will be starting on a permanent basis soon and do you think his form is bad news for Joe Gomez who is really struggling for game time at present?

“I’ve been super impressed with Konaté to be honest and he’s settled in well. He’s obviously a giant of a bloke. He’s quick, he’s strong and from what I’ve seen so far he’s comfortable on the ball too. I do think his form is bad news for Joe Gomez as he’s now back fit but the others have been playing really well during his spell injured. Joe’s going to have to make sure he can stay fit and work really hard so he can get his chance again.”

Premier League odds

The Athletic last week claimed that Brighton would want £50 million if they were to sell long time Liverpool target Yves Bissouma. He’s also linked with Aston Villa, but do you think he would be a perfect midfield solution for Liverpool?

“I’m a fan of his. I think he’s a good, energetic player. He’s one of those types of players that all the top teams need, that sort of energetic holding midfielder. I think he’s been really good for Brighton and I’m not surprised that Liverpool fancy a player like him. If some of the players in that position are going towards the exit door at Anfield then I’m sure Bissouma will be high on the list of replacements.”

Naby Keïta has been linked with a move away from Anfield, with Barcelona rumoured to be interested. If he was to depart either in January or the summer, do you think it will be a loss to the club considering they’ve failed to see the best of him?

“He arrived at Liverpool with a massive reputation but sadly he hasn’t really lived up to it currently. I still think he’s a good player and he’s certainly a good squad player but he’s never been a player consistently in their starting XI. If they could agree a deal to sell Keïta and then get someone like Yves Bissouma in as a replacement then that would probably be good business. With big signings like Keïta you want them to be banging the door down rather than accepting a role as a squad player.” 

Former Bournemouth winger Arnaut Danjuma is another winger linked with the club. His performance in the Champions League against Manchester United for Villarreal this season got many talking about his credentials. Do you think a winger of his calibre would be a good addition for Liverpool?

“Whether it’s another winger or an out and out striker, I do believe that Liverpool need another forward. They need someone to keep Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané, who are two of the best around, fresh and hungry every week. Liverpool rely heavily on Salah and Mané for goals, which is their job as they’re two of the forward players, but, apart from them and Diogo Jota, Liverpool need to get their goals from other players. If Danjuma can contribute goals then yes, he could be a good potential signing for one of those forward positions.”

Today's Football Tips

Sevilla’s Jules Koundé is once again being linked with a move to Stamford Bridge. Would he be an ideal replacement for the potentially departing Antonio Rüdiger and can you see Chelsea making a move for any defender in the January window or do you believe they’ll only move for a centre-back if Rüdiger departs in the summer?

“I think Chelsea will only move for a defender if Rüdiger departs in the summer. They’ve got two players there - in Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger - who are bloody good players and it’s an awful lot easier to start playing the players that are already on your books and stick with what you’ve got. If those two leave, they’re going to walk out quite cheap in comparison because of their contracts. Then if you go out and buy the next big player, you’re going to be spending £40m, £50m, £60m. It doesn’t make sense. A player outside of the Premier League doesn’t know the Premier League. It doesn’t always go as easily as people think. It’s a wake-up call. Whereas these two guys, Christensen and Rüdiger, know the Premier League, so I think it’s a lot lower risk to do.”

At this very moment, could you please name who you think will be the Premier League’s top four at the end of the season and why?

“The first three are a given. We know who they are. Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, but I’ve got a cheeky feeling Tottenham are going to get there. People could laugh their heads off because Spurs were rubbish at Chelsea the other week but I think Antonio Conte is going to get something out of them. So I’m going to give a little curveball and predict Tottenham to get the fourth spot.”

Halfway through the Premier League season, who has been your player of the season so far?

“I’m going to go with Aaron Ramsdale as the player of the season so far for me. I think Arsenal would be a hell of a lot worse off if he wasn’t in the net. Most keepers are on the edge so it’s good to see him give a bit of character and get stuck into the crowd. He clearly loves all the banter which is good to watch.”

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