Facing the biggest crisis of his soccer career, Jesse Lingard took a gamble. He’s offered himself to Spanish giants Barcelona.

Spain’s Sport reported on Sunday (July 7) that “Lingard has made a low-ball offer to Barcelona. Lingard, who is currently without a club after a spell at Nottingham Forest, is eligible for free agency and could fit into Barcelona’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.”

Currently, Barcelona are struggling with their finances and FFP rules, making it impossible for them to sign players. Unless they release a player or make some significant changes, they will not be able to sign anyone this winter transfer window.

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said in a recent interview, “We have to be realistic. In this situation, we can”t add any more players to the squad,” he admitted, adding, “Of course, it would be great to have a new midfielder after Pablo Gabi”s injury. But we have to wait and see. We have to try and find opportunities for the present rather than the future,” he said, emphasizing that the reality is that signings are difficult.

In this situation, Lingard offered himself to Barcelona. It was reportedly almost a free transfer that would not affect the club’s finances.

“The England international and Manchester United player until June 2022 has been training in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), without a club after a spell at Nottingham,” Sport said. “The 31-year-old wants to recapture his former glory and believes Barcelona would be a great stepping stone. The deal will cost less than €2 million for the remainder of the season and will not affect the FFP rules.”

“Lingard can play in midfield or as an attacking midfielder behind the striker. He is a footballer with enough skill to adapt quickly to Xavi’s style of play,” he said, adding that he would be “an affordable and experienced option.”

Lingard, who was the “Holy Grail” of United’s youth ranks and made his first-team debut, headed to Nottingham in the summer of 2022 after falling out of contention for a starting spot. Nottingham had just been promoted from the Championship to the Premier League, and he was looking to make a comeback.

Nottingham had high hopes for Lingard, paying him £200,000 a week (about $325,000). But he performed poorly. In 17 league games, he scored 0 goals, 0 assists, and no offensive points. His best performances came in the League Cup, where he scored two goals and provided two assists.

Lingard’s poor form pushed Nottingham to the brink of relegation. They narrowly managed to stay up, four points ahead of 18th-placed Leicester City, but they couldn’t rely on Lingard.

In June of last year, Nottingham announced on the club’s official website that “the contracts of six players, including Lingard, have been terminated. They will leave the club on a free transfer and we would like to thank them for their contribution to the club,” the club announced on its website, adding that Lingard’s contract had been terminated. Lingard was released a year after joining Nottingham and failed to make a comeback.

No teams were interested in him for six months, during which time he worked on his personal training. In December of last year, global sports publication The Athletic described him as a “soccer player who doesn’t play soccer” and gave an update.

Lingard has also been posting frequent videos of himself practicing soccer on his personal social media accounts, often with a ball and a training cone. He is reportedly eager to return to the professional ranks, writing phrases such as ‘keep pushing’ and ‘positive thoughts and progressive process’.

In the meantime, he is looking to make a comeback by counter-offering himself to Barcelona, who are looking for a replacement for Gabi, who is out for the season with a torn cruciate ligament. It will be interesting to see if Lingard, who has already failed once, can make a comeback with one of Europe’s most prestigious teams.

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