Jesse Lingard has said the “love” he felt from Nottingham Forest is what persuaded him to join the newly-promoted side.
Forest are back in the Premier League for the first time since the 1998-99 season, and have signed a number of new players ahead of the upcoming campaign.
The capture of Lingard on a free transfer from Manchester United raised some eyebrows, with the England international reportedly turning down interest from abroad as well as from Everton and former loan club West Ham.
However, Lingard has explained that the efforts made by Forest’s owners and manager Steve Cooper to sign him is what led to him making the decision to move to the City Ground.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Lingard said:
“I could have gone abroad for a lot of money but I wanted to stay in the Premier League.
“[The club’s owners] wanted to come to my house and bring me to London in quick succession to try to get the deal done.
“The manager and owners have been great with me – they’ve shown the love and intent to get me to the club.
“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.”
United academy product Lingard struggled to make his mark at Old Trafford last season, starting just twice in the Premier League across the 2021-22 campaign.
The 29-year-old made 22 appearances in all competitions, scoring twice, and was repeatedly linked with a move back to West Ham, where he enjoyed a productive loan spell in the second half of the 2020-21 season, finding the net nine times in 16 top-flight appearances.
Lingard will be hoping to force his way back into Gareth Southgate’s England squad ahead of the World Cup in Qatar later this year, and said his main aim now is to have regular football, adding: “Personal goals – it’s regular football, as that’s how you get the best out of me.
“I’ve always wanted to be a leader. Over the years, I have become more vocal in the changing room. I am looking to continue that this season.
“I can speak to the younger lads who have never played in the Premier League. It’s a special club for me to be a part of it. I’m raring to go and am so excited now.”
Likewise, for more football news like this, click here.