Jesse Ligard's impact since he arrived at the London Stadium on loan from Manchester United has been nothing short of brilliant, goals, assists, you name it. Such have been his performances that his value has rocketed to the point where it is becoming increasingly unreachable by West Ham.
Manchester would not sanction a 'right to buy' clause in lingard's loan deal, consequently they will use his 'contribution' to Hammers unlikely, and ultimately failed, attempt at reaching the Champions League as a rod to break the Irons back, essentially they will price West Ham out of the market, as there are plenty of other suitors out there for his services both at home and abroad.
There are some who say the quality of Lingard's performances have dropped significantly of late, as is often the case when a player has 'come in from the cold', their adrenalin levels are on 'full chaff' initially, but then the physicality of what they are doing catches up with them.
It may be unfair to judge Lingard over the last few games because the 'nuts and bolts' of the team have changed so much due to injury and suspension, obviously the most notable being Declan Rice, how the team has missed him for the previous six games, a run which saw all the good work of the previous months come undone.
With the Champions League now out of sight barring a miracle, Hammers have to pick themselves up and ensure qualification for the Europa League at a high enough position to avoid the preliminary rounds, or the dreaded and awfully named 'conference' Cup!
One player who may well prove to be invaluable for the remaining games is Said Benrahma, his sublime goal against Brighton to draw Hammers level was hopefully his first of many for the club, the weight will have been lifted from his shoulders and fans will now see the real player inside that has just been waiting to shine.
David Moyes responded when asked by reporters whether that goal was what Benrahma has been waiting for and suggested that he is hoping that there is more to come from the talented winger.“Yes, and so have we. We have been waiting on a goal and we got one tonight. We brought him in with that in mind and I am glad he has got that first goal and hopefully he will go on and get a lot more.”
One of the reasons Moyes has been unable to select Benrahma in his starting line up is that Lingard and the Algerian International play a similar style of football, so the Hammers manager has been spoiled for choice, but has had to try and accommodate an 'expensive' loan signing, in conjunction with a loan signing made 'expensively' permanent.
The lower in the table Hammers finish, the less likelihood there will be of making Lingard's loan deal permanent, and David Moyes, who everyone now realises is NOT a managerial dinosaur, has a track record of guiding players through the tricky task of facing top quality teams week in week out, and he could well be forced to 'convert' Benrahma to replace Lingard.
This is not as easy a task as it looks, Moyes took months to integrate Jarrod Bowen in to the first team after he had arrived from Hull City, likewise he took a long time to fully utilise the 'Duracell Bunny' that is Pablo Fornals , but Benrahma has it all in his locker to become a truly great player for West Ham, his silky skills will be a crowd pleaser when fans are finally able to attend games, and it is testimony to the players temperament that he has got his head down and worked hard when given the opportunity, a prerequisite for any Moyes first teamer.
Of course in an ideal world West Ham will make lingard's move permanent, but we don't live in an ideal world, and as we have said before, Lingard's form has dipped of late, and it will be interesting to see how he gets on against the Baggies and the Saints in the final two games of the Barclays Premier League season. - Ed