Everton 'target' free agent who is a former FA Cup winner with 56 career goals

The former Manchester United and England attacker has been out of contract since the summer.

Everton are reportedly exploring a deal for Jesse Lingard, who is a free agent after leaving Nottingham Forest at the end of last season.

Lingard, 31, has endured a difficult few years after struggling to make an impact at Nottingham Forest last season. He netted just twice in 20 appearances in all competitions, starting just 12 times in the league under Steve Cooper.

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It was a far cry from the stunning form we saw from him during a loan spell at West Ham United during the 2020/21 season as he netted nine times and provided five assists in 16 Premier League games under David Moyes. That spell was his last rich vein of form and he has spent his time since being released by Forest in July, as he had been training with Steven Gerrard’s Al Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia, however nothing came of it.

And now, according to talkSPORT, Everton are reportedly interested in offering the former Manchester United attacker a short-term deal until the end of the season. As it stands, Everton's financial situation is certainly a difficult one. Their 10-point deduction came as a result of breaching financial fair play and sustainability rules and recent reports from the club have revealed there is unlikely to be any incomings in January.

However, with reports of Villarreal potentially taking back Arnaut Danjuma, who arrived on loan during the summer, there could be scope to bring in another player. Fabrizio Romano reported that Lyon are interested in a move and it remains to be seen what will happen as he claims it is still in the 'early stages'.

In terms of Lingard, he has been out of action and will seriously lack any match fitness and it depends whether Everton will take what is a risk on the midfielder. Given the role he plays, he could offer something different in the position that Abdoulaye Doucoure currently plays; his technical ability would certainly add a new dynamic but it's unclear what version of Lingard currently exists and whether he is a 'Sean Dyche player' given Everton's running statistics off the ball this season.

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Everton also have Dele Alli, another player who is in a similar position career-wise to Lingard who has been slowly building his way back training with the squad. He is yet to feature this season and it's unclear when he could return given that he still has a clause from his Tottenham contract that stipulates Everton have to pay a certain amount (£10m) if he plays another seven games, but there has been no update on his current situation as it stands.