Jesse Lingard is ready to leave Manchester United in January – to rescue his hopes of going to next year’s World Cup.
Lingard is out of contract in the summer and has rejected United’s offer of an extension, fearing he will not get enough playing time.
The 28-year-old midfielder has grown frustrated with his role in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s supporting cast and wants to feature regularly.
Barcelona and AC Milan are among the club’s monitoring Lingard’s situation, tempted by the prospect of landing him for free next summer.
Lingard is free to open talks with clubs outside of the UK from January 1 ahead of a potentially lucrative move on a free next summer.
But that would only give Lingard a few months to impress England boss Gareth Southgate and stake a claim for a place on the plane to Qatar.
If Lingard sees out his contract at United, he is unlikely to get the playing time he needs to impress Southgate enough to earn a place in the squad.
That is why Lingard faces a dilemma over whether to push for a move in January’s transfer window or see out his contract and move in the summer.
Lingard was named in Southgate’s latest squad and played 73 minutes in England’s 5-0 World Cup qualifier win away to Andorra.
Although he has been restricted to just 45 minutes in three substitute appearances this season, Lingard has plundered two goals.
Lingard spent the second half of last season on loan at West Ham, scoring nine goals in 16 games, winning April’s Premier League Player of the Month award.