The real reason ‘fearful’ Manchester United don’t want to sell Jesse Lingard to Newcastle

The Red Devils have demanded a mammoth £12m ‘survival tax’ (Picture: Getty)

Manchester United’s decision to demand an enormous ‘survival tax’ as part of Newcastle’s bid to sign Jesse Lingard is rooted in their fears over the Magpies’ potential to usurp them, according to reports.

Newcastle were taken over by Saudi Arabia’s private investment fund in October and they now have the wealthiest owners in world football, with the new regime keen to turn the club into title challengers as quickly as possible.

First they need to avoid relegation, though a massive January splurge has not quite gone to plan so far with only Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood joining the club and several top targets snubbing moves.

United had wanted Trippier in the summer but he joined Newcastle (Getty)

Another issue Newcastle have encountered is rival teams charging significantly more when the Toon come calling, and the latest frustration has involved Lingard.

The 29-year-old is out of contract in the summer, when he can leave on a free transfer, though United are reluctant to let the attacking midfielder move to St James’ Park even though he has not started a single Premier League match this season.

Newcastle have proposed a loan in which they cover the entirety of Lingard’s wages as well as a £2.5million fee, though United have also demanded a further £12.5m if Newcastle avoid the drop which has threatened to derail the deal.

According to The Athletic, the Red Devils’ demands are rooted in a ‘fear’ of what Newcastle could become and there is a feeling they could be genuine contenders as early as next season.

If they are hampered in their efforts to strengthen this month, Newcastle could still get relegated which would delay the progress of the project significantly, but if they stay up there is a feeling that they pose an imminent threat to the big six.

Newcastle are closing in on Brazil and Lyon star Bruno Guimaraes (Picture: Getty)

A £40m deal to sign Bruno Guimaraes from Lyon – which is close to completion – has been seen as a sign of their potential to disrupt the Premier League’s big guns, having blown Arsenal out of the water.

As such, United do not want to strengthen Newcastle – and aid their survival – unless they get a significant fee in return, though The Times reports that they are prepared to negotiate over the ‘survival tax’ and could be open to reducing it slightly.

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