Jesse Lingard training with Al Ettifaq as he looks to secure move to Saudi Pro League

Former England midfielder has been looking for club since leaving Nottingham Forest in summer

Jesse Lingard left Nottingham Forest this summer as a free agent after an unsuccessful season at the City Ground. EPA
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Former Manchester United and England midfielder Jesse Lingard is training with Saudi Pro League side Al Ettifaq.

The 30-year-old, a free agent since a disappointing spell with Nottingham Forest ended in the summer, is spending a month on trial with the Saudi club managed by Steven Gerrard.

It was thought that Lingard would be moving back to West Ham United, where is spent a successful loan spell in 2021, scoring nine goals in 16 appearances and providing five assists for David Moyes' side.

He had been training with the London club as he looked to build fitness ahead of deciding his next move.

West Ham manager Moyes was asked about Lingard’s future at the club on Friday and made no reference to the Saudi Arabia move.

“I think Jesse is starting to get himself back, he’s had the best part of a month now like preseason work and is involved in a lot of the football,” he said. “So he’s doing well but we’ve got no real update to give you from what I’ve said before.

“But we’re happy to try to get Jesse in the right condition.”

But Lingard has instead linked up with Ettifaq where former Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson is currently captain.

He becomes the fifth former Premier League player to join Ettifaq after Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum, ex-Everton winger Demarai Gray and former Fulham player Moussa Dembele.

Lingard left Manchester United in the summer of 2022 after his contract at Old Trafford came to an end following two decades at the club after becoming increasingly frustrated at his lack of game time.

Lingard scored 35 goals in 232 appearances for the Red Devils, who he joined at the age of seven.

West Ham had again been keen to re-sign the player but Lingard decided instead to join newly-promoted Nottingham Forest on a one-year deal, with the Irons not interested in entering a bidding war with other clubs.

“There were lots of other options,” Lingard told BBC Radio 5 Live after his move. “I could have gone abroad for a lot of money but I want to stay in the Premier League.

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“I spoke to the owners and they showed that love. They wanted to come to my house, they wanted to come to London, all in quick succession to try to get the deal done.

“When I see that sort of love, of course I am going to say yes, but it had to be the right deal for me and my family.

“I can see the project they're building and it's going to look good this season. I feel a positive vibe around the camp.”

But Lingard made just 17 Premier League appearances for Steve Cooper's side – who ended the campaign 16th – without scoring a goal.

Lingard has scored six goals in 32 games for England, winning the last of his caps in the 5-0 win away to Andorra in October 2021.

Updated: September 23, 2023, 1:32 PM