Manchester United would be a ‘laughing stock’ if they allowed Jesse Lingard to join West Ham and then helped them into the top four at their expense.
That’s the view of Aston Villa legend Gabriel Agbonlahor, who insists the Red Devils are right to fend off interest from their Champions League rivals, with both clubs battling it out for the competition European elite.
Lingard has been linked with a return to the Hammers in the January transfer window, having dazzled during his six-month loan spell in east London last season.
The 29-year-old scored nine goals in 16 appearances to help send West Ham into the Europa League.
However, despite the Hammers’ interest in a permanent transfer last summer, Lingard opted to stay at his boyhood club United to fight for a place in the Old Trafford first team.
It turned out to be a failed attempt as he only played 88 minutes of top-flight action this season.
Newly wealthy West Ham and Newcastle are believed to be interested in signing the playmaker, although a deal to join the latter has reportedly broken down.
And Agbonlahor doubts a move to West Ham will happen in January as he feels Lingard could embarrass the Red Devils if he returns to David Moyes’ men and helps them to a top-four finish against United.
“I feel sorry for him because for me Jesse Lingard will want to go to West Ham,” Agbonlahor told talkSPORT Breakfast.
“If you’re Manchester United, there’s no way you’re letting him go to your rivals.
“Champions League rivals, they’re not going to let him go.
“At the start of the season, I think he imagined himself having more playing time, but when you see the season unfolding now, Pogba has been injured a lot and he still has playing time.
“Now he should think; “This month, I have to go”.
“If they don’t let him go to West Ham and Newcastle are ready to pay the £10million loan fee, he has to go.
“What if he goes there, scores five, six or seven goals and West Ham get into the top 4? They’re going to be a laughing stock, Manchester United!”
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