Danny Hall: Man Utd's Jesse Lingard wouldn't come cheap - but it'd be a price worth paying to give Sheffield United a chance of survival

There seem to be, if you listen to the increasingly-frenetic commentary on social media regarding Sheffield United and their quest for survival this season, two schools of thought regarding their attempts to do business in a window that is always fraught with difficulty, and especially so this time around.

Monday, 25th January 2021, 5:07 pm

One, shared by boss Chris Wilder, is that United need an injection of quality into their depleted and confidence-derived squad to bring a boost to the overall group, and hopefully pull off the biggest shock of all shock survival bids and survive in the Premier League this season.

The other, to put it more succinctly, seems to pretty much be: 'What's the point?' United are, to the subscribers to this theory, down anyway and any cash that could be spent in January might as well be saved for the summer when planning for the Championship begins.

Both sides of the coin have their merits and pitfalls. But United and Wilder did not get into this position by taking a backward step and playing it safe and so, for my money, this wouldn't be a good time to start.

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We know already that Wilder is restricted to loans in the January window and with a week to go, they haven't materialised yet.

But their pursuit of Jesse Lingard is still ongoing, despite reported competition from the likes of Spurs and West Ham, and they still hope to land a left-sided central defender as well to plug the gaping hole that Jack O'Connell's injury has caused.

The midfielder hasn't featured in a Premier League game since July, when he came off the bench against Leicester and scored a late goal. But with a CV at Old Trafford that includes an FA Cup, League Cup, Community Shield and Europa League - not to mention a run to the semi-finals of the World Cup with England in 2018 - there is undoubted quality there, of a level that United do not currently possess.

Jesse Lingard of Manchester United (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Only recently turned 28 and in what should be the prime of his career, the best could still be to come from Lingard and there would be extra motivation for him to perform, putting him in the shop window for an expected summer move away from Old Trafford.

Having something to prove is a character trait that Wilder has valued ever since he began his managerial career and although Lingard is reported by the BBC to earn something around a six-figure salary per week, the hunger to get his own career back on track will no doubt burn bright within him.

Yes, he wouldn't come cheap, even if some kind of compromise agreement can be reached with his employers at Old Trafford, where United travel next in their quest to get their season up and running.

But a club that has dined at English football's top table for two-and-a-half seasons since the mid-1990s can hardly afford to take Premier League football for granted, and should - within reason - pull out all the stops to stay up. You can be sure that the manager and his staff will be doing the same.

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