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Former Manchester United star makes shock move to South Korea

By Gawon Bae and Andrew McNicol, CNN

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) — Former Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard has signed for South Korea’s FC Seoul in a surprise move that ends the England international’s months-long search for a new club.

FC Seoul announced the transfer on Thursday, calling Lingard, 31, “the biggest name in K League history.”

Lingard, who had been training without a team since he was released by English Premier League side Nottingham Forest in the summer, expressed his delight on social media.

“New beginnings,” he wrote on Instagram Thursday. “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 Korea.”

Lingard rose through the ranks at his boyhood club Manchester United, where he lifted trophies including the EFL Cup, UEFA Europa League and scored the winning goal in the 2016 FA Cup final.

He also impressed for England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, where the team reached the semi-finals. He won his most recent of 32 international caps in 2021.

But Lingard fell out of favor at Old Trafford, failing to find consistency in a team struggling to live up to to the glory days of yesteryear.

Following a successful loan spell with Premier League side West Ham in 2021, Lingard made a permanent transfer to newly promoted Forest, becoming the team’s highest-paid player.

FC Seoul, South Korea’s oldest professional club, finished seventh in the top division last year. The new K League season begins next month, when Lingard could make his debut in FC Seoul’s clash with Gwangju FC on March 2.

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