Jesse Lingard completes surprise move to FC Seoul agreeing a two-year deal with the South Korean side after having offers from TWENTY-SIX clubs from around the world

Jesse Lingard has completed a surprise move to South Korean side FC Seoul.

The former Manchester United forward has signed a two-year deal with the option to add a third with the K League 1 side.

Mail Sport understands that the 31-year-old, who was released from his contract at Nottingham Forest at the end of last season, had offers from as many as 26 clubs from around the world, including FC Seoul and Lazio.

The news was confirmed on Instagram on Wednesday, with Lingard posting a photo of himself wearing an FC Seoul shirt, writing: ‘New start! So excited to finally get back on the field and do what I love the most.

‘I’m so grateful for the love and support in South Korea, @FC Seoul.’

Reports earlier this week said that Lingard could be in line to earn around £17,500 a week, which equates to £910,000 a year. Lingard signed a contract renewal at Man United in 2017 which earned him a net £100,000 a week.

Jesse Lingard has completed a move to South Korean side FC Seoul after spending the past seven months as a free agent.

Lingard took to Instagram to write that he was eager to get back on the pitch

Lingard took to Instagram to write that he was eager to get back on the pitch

Despite that, he is believed to be the highest paid player in the K-League if these figures are believed to be correct. According to the club’s website, Lingard has now completed his move and will join the team’s winter training camp in Kagoshima.

Appearing in a separate video on the club’s Instagram, the former Man United forward said: ‘My dream as a young child was to play in the Premier League and I have always worked hard to achieve that goal. I have always wanted different challenges to create new memories in my career and I believe being in South Korea is the place for that. Jesse Lingard is in FC Seoul.’

He added: ‘Based on respect for Korean football, I am excited to represent the K-League as soon as possible by playing good football and dedication to my new team, FC Seoul. I am looking forward to meeting coach Kim Gidong and making an impact in the team.’

In a statement on the club’s website, FC Seoul wrote: ‘This is enough news to capture the eyes and ears of Korean football fans as it is a challenge to the K-League by a player with the highest name value in the 41-year history of the K-League.

‘FC Seoul as a leading club in the K-League, has taken the lead in recruiting big names with both skill and popularity and has consistently made relentless efforts that will not only lead to the success of the K-League, but also to the development of Korean football.

“This recruitment was accomplished as a surprise as the future-oriented vision and goals of both FC Seoul and Lingard coincided.”

Speculation of a move to the Asian club emerged last week, with Lingard subsequently posting a photo of himself at the airport preparing to check in for a Korean Air flight on Monday.

His move would come ahead of the start of the Korean first division, with Seoul set to open their K-League season against Gwangju on March 2.

Lingard was released by Nottingham Forest in the summer after struggling to impress at the City ground

Lingard was released by Nottingham Forest in the summer after struggling to impress at the City ground

The former Man United forward has been looking for a club since leaving the bush last summer

The former Man United forward has been looking for a club since leaving the bush last summer

Speaking on FC Seoul's Instagram, Lingard said he was 'excited to represent the team in the K League'

Speaking on FC Seoul’s Instagram, Lingard said he was ‘excited to represent the team in the K League’

Lingard spent 14 years on the books at Manchester United after graduating through the club’s academy. He made his Premier League debut for the Red Devils in 2014, before scoring 35 times in 232 appearances in all competitions for United.

During that period he also spent time on loan with Leicester, Birmingham, Derby and West Ham, before finally leaving Old Trafford on a free transfer to Forest in 2022.

The 31-year-old then endured a difficult time with Steve Cooper’s side, scoring twice in 20 appearances in all competitions, before being released again in July 2023.

The free agent has been looking for a new club for the past seven months, having reportedly had an opportunity to join French side Lille while also reaching out to Portland Timbers on a free transfer to the MLS side . No move materialized.

Lingard, capped 32 times for England, also spent time training with West Ham before joining Steven Gerrard’s Al-Ettifaq.

David Moyes’ side are reportedly not ‘interested in offering him a contract’ following his trial – an arrangement believed to have cost the Hammers thousands.

Al-Ettifaq, who originally looked set to sign Lingard, also ultimately decided not to offer him a contract.

Lingard, who played over 200 times for Manchester United, shared a bullish Instagram post

Lingard, who played over 200 times for Manchester United, shared a bullish Instagram post

He trained with West Ham and even played in a closed-door friendly, but ultimately a deal to stay at the Irons never materialized

Al-Ettifaq initially seemed keen to sign him but ultimately decided against a move

Lingard has been without a club for the past seven months but has spent time training with West Ham and Al-Ettifaq.

Lingard continued to work hard on the training pitch, posting training montages of himself on social media

Lingard continued to work hard on the training pitch, posting training montages of himself on social media

The situation has reportedly left the former Man United star frustrated, with Lingard ending a long and complex deal with his former agents, which included some members of his family, in January.

He then took to Instagram to share a bullish message which read: ‘My focus is different. My time is invested in growth. I don’t expect people to understand what I’m doing. Eventually they will.’

He added another photo of himself on the training pitch and wrote: ‘High vibes and just good energy!’

Meanwhile, he continued to share montages of himself training on social media while looking for a new club.

Lingard also posted several pictures of himself working out in a luxury gym in Dubai

Lingard also posted several pictures of himself working out in a luxury gym in Dubai

Paiul Scholes showed no mercy to free agent after posting pictures of himself training online

Paiul Scholes showed no mercy to free agent after posting pictures of himself training online

The pictures caught the attention of former Man United midfielder Paul Scholes, who blasted Lingard, writing on his Instagram post: ‘Are you just going to f*** the gym or are you actually going to play football?’

Despite claims he was distracted by off-field interests, Lingard spoke in 2022 and admitted he ‘feels misunderstood sometimes’ and insisted ‘I love training and I love playing football’.

Before joining Forest, the 31-year-old enjoyed a successful loan spell at West Ham in 2021.

He went on to score nine goals in 16 games for the west London side, appearing to spark a good relationship with Moyes.

The 31-year-old enjoyed a successful loan spell with West Ham in 2021, scoring nine goals in 16 appearances

The 31-year-old enjoyed a successful loan spell with West Ham in 2021, scoring nine goals in 16 appearances

Lingard would go on to win several major honors during his time at Man United, including the winning goal in the 2016 FA Cup Final

Lingard would go on to win several major honors during his time at Man United, including scoring the winning goal in the 2016 FA Cup Final

He has also tasted his fair share of major honours, with Lingard winning the Europa League, League Cup, Charity Shield and FA Cup with Man United.

Notably, Lingard scored the winning goal during the 2016 FA Cup Final, powering in a stunning volley to help Man United beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Wembley.

He would also represent England at the 2018 World Cup, helping Gareth Southgate’s side reach the semi-finals of the tournament, with Lingard featuring in all but one of the matches.