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Jesse Lingard finally signs for new club after 7 months as free agent

Former Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard has signed for South Korean side FC Seoul on a two-year deal, according to reports.

The 31-year-old has been without a club for over seven months following his release by Nottingham Forest at the conclusion at the 2022/23 season.

Lingard has spent time training in Saudi Arabia with Steven Gerrard’s Al Ettifaq, while he also spent time at former club West Ham to maintain his fitness. But neither side were forthcoming with a contract offer, leaving the 32-cap England international out in the cold.

In a surprise move, Lingard will now look to resurrect his career with six-time K League 1 winners FC Seoul. Sky Sports News report that a two-year contract has been signed, with an optional third year in place should both parties wish to extend his stay, and Lingard previously posted pictures of his baggage as he prepared to board a plane at the airport.

Lingard spent 22 years on the books of Manchester United, graduating from the club’s academy, and made 232 appearances for the first team in all competitions.

He scored the winning goal in the 2016 FA Cup final against Crystal Palace, after coming on a second-half substitute for Juan Mata, and netted another important goal in the 2017 EFL Cup final – United’s second in an eventual 3-2 win over Southampton.

Limited first-team opportunities eventually persuaded Lingard to head out on loan to West Ham United in January 2021, where he enjoyed tremendous success over a four-month period. In 16 Premier League game for the Hammers, he scored nine goals – a career-best return that many thought would lead to a permanent switch to London Stadium.

But after holding talks with then-United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over his future, Lingard opted to stay put and fight for his place at Old Trafford – a fight he would never come out on top of. He was released from his contract at the end of the 2021/22 season, and eventually signed for newly promoted Forest on a bumper one-year deal, becoming their highest-paid player in the process.

Lingard failed to score in 17 Premier League appearances for Forest and was released in the summer alongside Andre Ayew and Jack Colback.

What we know

  • Lingard puts pen to paper on two-year deal at South Korean side FC Seoul
  • Contract understood to contain optional third year
  • 31-year-old released by Nottingham Forest after disastrous spell.