Jesse Lingard
Jesse Lingard and Cristiano Ronaldo at Man Utd IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images

Former Manchester United winger Jesse Lingard is reportedly close to completing a shock move to South Korean side FC Seoul.

Lingard, who has not played since last summer, has verbally agreed a two-year deal with the option of a further year. The 31-year-old Englishman is expected to fly out and complete the move in the coming days, reported Sky Sports. It is also claimed that FC Seoul was the most interesting option available to him.

FC Seoul is a football club based in Seoul that competes in the K League 1, the top flight of South Korean football. However, a deal is yet to be completed between Lingard and FC Seoul. The 2024 season of K League 1 is scheduled to begin on March 1, and the club would want to seal the deal with the England international before then.

The attacking midfielder last played for Nottingham Forest in the Premier League and he parted ways with the club following the expiration of his contract at the end of the 2022-23 season.

Lingard looking to get back to action soon

The ex-Manchester United star has regularly posted videos of himself training alone as he prepares for a way back into the game. He even spent a month training with Saudi Arabian side Al-Ettifaq.

Lingard, who joined Manchester United's academy at the age of seven, is understood to have wanted a fresh start in a new country. His surprise upcoming move to the Asian side comes after he sacked his agents - including members of his family - in a bid to find a new club.

The Englishman had grown very frustrated that several contract offers and enquiries since his Nottingham Forest exit had failed to materialise. Lingard came close to joining Saudi Arabian side Al Ettifaq in October but the deal suffered a late collapse. The failed deal with Al Ettifaq was believed to be one of the main reasons behind his decision to part ways with his agents.

The winger supposedly even offered himself to La Liga champions Barcelona but they turned him down as well.

It is also being reported that Lingard did have offers from Saudi Arabia and Turkey before deciding to move to South Korea as the player is looking for a fresh start in a new country. Meanwhile, Major League Soccer (MLS) side Portland Timbers are also understood to be monitoring Lingard's situation.

Meanwhile, even though Lingard's deal with Al-Ettifaq failed, he continued to train with Steven Gerrard's team and has since been on a strict training regime in the hope of finding a new club.

Lingard's last competitive game was in April 2023 for Nottingham Forest as he made 20 appearances and scored twice last season after joining on a 12-month deal. His stint with the Forest side was not a great one as he started 12 of his 17 Premier League matches for the club before he left at the end of last season.

Prior to his journey with Forest, Lingard had a great loan spell with West Ham in 2021, scoring nine goals in 16 games.

Lingard at Man Utd

Having made his senior debut while on loan at Leicester City in 2012, Lingard also had loan stints at Birmingham City and Brighton & Hove Albion during the 2013–14 season and at Derby County in 2015. He broke into the Manchester United first-team under Louis van Gaal in 2015. He was a regular in the side until 2019, when he fell out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjær and struggled to regain his place in the team.

Lingard ended up making 232 appearances for the Old Trafford side before leaving them in 2022. He won the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League with his boyhood side. He also has 32 caps with Gareth Southgate's England.

Lingard's best season with the Red Devils was in 2017-18, where he scored 13 goals in 48 competitive matches. He finished his career at Manchester United with 35 goals and 21 assists in all competitions.