By Wayne Veysey

23rd Oct, 2021 | 8:00am

Sources: Everton in pole position to beat West Ham and Newcastle to January Lingard deal

Everton lead the race to sign Jesse Lingard in January – if Man United agree to let him go, Football Insider has learned.

The 28-year-old has rejected a new contract offer from the Premier League giants and has struggled for game time despite his outstanding loan spell at West Ham last season.

A recruitment source has told Football Insider that Everton, West Ham and newly-rich Newcastle are among the clubs keeping close tabs on Lingard going into January.

But the Merseysiders have a significant advantage as Lingard would prefer to remain in the north-west.

Geographical reasons were key to him remaining at Old Trafford during the summer window, when West Ham pushed hard to sign him permanently.

This site revealed on 21 October that Everton have set their sights on Lingard ahead of the January window.

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Manager Rafael Benitez’s priority is to recruit an energetic attacking midfielder capable of scoring and creating goals.

Financial fair play restrictions mean the Merseysiders would only be able to sign the England international permanently if they generated cash through player sales.

But Everton could sign Lingard on loan or a loan-to-buy in which a temporary deal was converted into a permanent one in the summer.

Lingard‘s current contract expires next summer, by which time he will be 29.

He had hoped to re-establish himself as a key man at United but has not started a Premier League or Champions League match this season.

His 146 minutes across all competitions have still yielded two league goals, and his remarkable scoring and assist record at West Ham makes him a hot January property.

In other news, Calvert-Lewin comeback date predicted by injury expert after crushing Everton update.