Dimitar Berbatov has admitted that he would prefer to see Jesse Lingard stay and flourish at West Ham rather than returning to Manchester United.
The 28-year-old attacking midfielder has been a huge success at the London Stadium since joining the Hammers on loan in January, and has scored five goals and created two assists in seven Premier League appearances so far.
His fine form has even seen him earn a return to Gareth Southgate’s England squad, and he now has a good chance of playing at the Euros this summer.
Talk has been turning to whether he could break back into the United side when his loan finishes, but speaking to Betfair Berbatov stated his belief that the smart thing for both parties may be to allow Lingard to join West Ham permanently.
“Jesse Lingard is on loan at West Ham at the moment and I’m unsure of what the end of the season will bring,” he said.
“It’s complicated with him, I wouldn’t be surprised if United gave him a chance again during the pre-season, to see if he can fit into the system and prove himself or he may want to stay at West Ham because he is doing well there, you can tell he is happy and for a player you don’t want to lose that momentum and confidence.
“Honestly, if he doesn’t have a place at United then I would prefer him to stay at West Ham because he is back in form and it’s been a great turn around for him, that move to West Ham is the best thing that could have happened to him, he needed that chance to shine and prove that he is good enough and he has been rewarded with his chance for the national team.
“The strange thing now is if he will still find it difficult to get back into that United midfield, good players don’t always fit into great teams.
“He will be pleased with his performances for England and Gareth Southgate has a lot of talented players to pick from, every manager would love to have that luxury problem. I can imagine that Lingard will be happy and will be hopeful of a place in the squad for the Euros, but he needs to keep up his performances in the last games of the season.”
Lingard and West Ham return to action on Monday when they take on Wolves looking to keep their hopes of finishing in a Champions League qualification spot alive.