The future of Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard appears to be ever-changing currently.
Sheffield United have been strongly linked with a loan move for Lingard throughout the January transfer window.
The Blades are targeting two loan signings this month to try and improve their Premier League position.
At the halfway stage they are on course for the worst points tally since Derby County finished with 11 points in 2007/08. After 19 games, they sit bottom with just five points.
Manager Chris Wilder is keen to inject some creativity into midfield and Lingard is apparently a top target to achieve that.
Wilder has even apparently sent a presentation dossier to the 28-year-old to convince him of a move to Bramall Lane.
Yet is it worth it?
Pros of signing Jesse Lingard from Manchester United
What Lingard could potentially provide to the midfield is just part of his allure.
The Blades have struggled to make an impact from the middle. Neither John Fleck nor John Lundstram have shown the same attacking form as they did last season.
Lingard naturally likes to get forwards and could easily operate in a midfield three, or behind the strikers.
However, the England international also possesses the sort of Premier League experience sorely lacking in Wilder’s squad.
Until last term, most of the Blades had little to no experience in the top flight. Phil Jagielka was the exception, but besides the veteran defender there was just a handful of games in the division many years ago for the likes of Chris Basham and Enda Stevens.
Lingard has played 133 times in the Premier League, scoring 18 goals. He also has 24 caps for his country and was a key player for Gareth Southgate as recently as the 2018 World Cup.
Lingard would certainly elevate the squad and even if they are still relegated, if he could help improve results this will help in the long-term.
It could give some much needed confidence back to the Blades and therefore maybe stop the negativity rolling into a campaign back in the Championship.
Improved results might also stop Wilder walking away. The 53-year-old won’t be sacked whatever happens, but has said he will quit if he thinks it’s the right thing to do.
And the cons?
Firstly, although it is only a loan, this would be an expensive deal.
Lingard is said to earn £100,000-a-week at Old Trafford – which is almost three times more than the current highest earners at the Blades.
Covering that for six month would cost £2.6m. During a global pandemic which has greatly impacted the economy, is this a sensible outlay when the club are likely to be relegated in any case?
It’s also a gamble, considering how little game time Lingard has had over the past 12 months.
He’s played three times in 2020/21, all in cup competitions, and with minutes totally 179. Lingard hasn’t started in the Premier League in more than a year.
This will surely leave him lacking match sharpness and needing time to get up to speed. Time the Blades don’t have as the gap between them and safety keeps growing.
There are also reports Lingard is reluctant to join the South Yorkshire side. Which is understandable looking at their current position.
But that doesn’t mean Wilder should be convincing him to sign. Having a disinterested and expensive loanee around the place is no good for anyone.