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

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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 jersey while writing: 'New beginnings! So excited to finally get back on the pitch and do what I love the most.

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

Lingard said that he had multiple offers over the summer

Lingard said that he had multiple offers over the summer

Jesse Lingard has completed a move to South Korean side FC Seoul after having spent the last seven months as a free agent

Lingard was unveiled at a press conference in the South Korean capital on Thursday

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 

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

But his reported salary sees him become the highest-paid player in the K League. He will now join the team's winter training camp in Kagoshima

Appearing in a separate video on the club's Instagram, the ex-Man United forward said: 'My dream from a young child was to play in the Premier League and I've always worked hard to achieve that goal. I've 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.'

Speaking in a press conference, Lingard said: 'I’m very excited. It’s a new challenge. I’ve accepted it, I’m here and I’m ready to embrace the culture. It’s a new beginning for me, a new chapter in my career. I just want to enjoy playing football again, putting a smile on people’s faces and showing Korean fans what I can do

The former Man United forward also revealed that he 'had multiple offers' over the past seven months. He added: 'When FC Seoul came into the equation, the commitment that they showed, they came to Manchester to watch me train.

'They came with the contract on paper so I think the commitment shown by the club really in my mind, I had already made up where I wanted to go because, as I say, there was multiple offers, they was all verbal offers, but the commitment shown by FC Seoul showed how much interest and how much they wanted me at the club so it was only right for me to repay that and come to the club.'

In a statement on the club's website, FC Seoul wrote: 'This is enough news to capture the eyes and ears of Korean soccer fans as it is a challenge for 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 been taking the lead in recruiting big names with both skill and popularity and has been consistently making impactful attempts that will lead not only to the success of the K League but also to the development of Korean soccer. 

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

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

His move comes ahead of the start of the K League season, with FC Seoul set to kick begin their campaign against Gwangju on March 2. 

Lingard, 31, said the commitment shown by FC Seoul to sign him was a factor in his decision

Lingard, 31, said the commitment shown by FC Seoul to sign him was a factor in his decision 

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

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

The former Man United forward had been searching for a club since departing forest last summer

The former Man United forward had been searching for a club since departing forest 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 going on to score 35 times in 232 appearances across all competitions with United.

During that period, he'd also spend time on loan with Leicester, Birmingham, Derby and West Ham, before eventually departing Old Trafford on a free transfer to Forest in 2022. 

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

The free agent had been searching for a new club over the past seven months, having reportedly had an opportunity to join French side Lille while also holding talks with Portland Timbers over a free transfer to the MLS side. Neither move came to fruition. 

Lingard, who has been capped 32 times by England, had also spent time training with West Ham before moving to work with Steven Gerrard's Al-Ettifaq.  

David Moyes' side had reportedly not been interested in offering him a contract following his trial - an arrangement which had reportedly cost the Hammers thousands. 

Al-Ettifaq, who had originally seemed keen to sign Lingard, also ultimately decided against offering 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 behind closed doors friendly but ultimately a deal to stay with the Irons never materialised

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

Lingard had been without a club for the last seven months, but had spent time training with both West Ham and Al-Ettifaq

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

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

The situation had reportedly left the ex-Man United star frustrated, with Lingard terminating a long and complex agreement with his former agents, that included some members of his family, in January. 

He subsequently took to Instagram to share a bullish message that read: 'My focus is different. My time is being invested in growth. I don't expect people to understand what I'm up to. Eventually, they will.' 

He added another picture of himself on the training pitch, writing: 'High vibrations and good energy only!' 

In the meantime, he continued to share montages of himself training on social media as he searched for a new club

Lingard also posted several pictures of himself training in a high-end gym in Dubai

Lingard also posted several pictures of himself training in a high-end gym in Dubai  

Paiul Scholes showed no mercy to the free agent after he posted the shots of himself training online

Paiul Scholes showed no mercy to the free agent after he posted the shots of himself training online 

The pictures caught the attention of former Man United midfielder Paul Scholes, who savaged Lingard, writing on his Instagram post: 'Are you just gonna f*** about in the gym or are you gonna actually play football?'

During his FC Seoul press conference, he admitted that it had been hard not being with a club, but added: 'My mindset is to never give up. Like I say, it was tough but I knew by January I needed to sign for a club. I was training pretty much every day. 

'I had my birthday celebrations and then after that it was a strict programme of training every couple of days throughout the week. I flew to Dubai, I had my own personal trainer so I was training there two times a day for two weeks and came back in great condition, physically, spiritually, mentally and in great position to sign for a club. 

'Of course, I’m not match fit at the moment, I’ve not played a game since I think late October but it shouldn’t take me too long to catch up to my fitness.'

Despite claims that he was distracted by off-field interests, Lingard spoke in 2022 admitting he 'felt misunderstood at times' and insisted 'I love training and I love playing football'. 

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

He scored nine goals in 16 appearances for the Hammers and appeared to have a strong relationship with manager David 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 won several major honours during his time at Man United including scoring the winning goal in the 2016 FA Cup final

Lingard won several major honours during his time at Man United including scoring the winning goal in the 2016 FA Cup final

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

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

He also represented 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 game. 

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