Jose Mourinho might be keen to add a couple of new pieces to Manchester United’s squad in the coming months. However, that does not mean he wants to let some of the current first-team players go elsewhere.
Four players have the chance to extend their current deals for at least one ore year. We are talking about Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Ashley Young and Daley Blind. All four are reportedly keen to sign their respective extensions, so they will automatically see their deals end in the summer of 2019.
This move will secure the players’ immediate futures and bolster their transfer values by triggering clauses that extend their deals by a further 12 months. Luke Shaw was eligible to sign a new deal as well, but United have already invoked the 12-month option on his current contract. This will strengthen United’s hopes of recouping a bigger portion of the £28 million fee they paid Southampton for the defender back in 2014.
Needless to say, all four players deserved their contract extensions. Let’s analyse each case individually.
Out of the four players, Herrera is the one who has a bigger role. The talks over a new long-term contract for the Spanish playmaker have extended for 12 months, and now United must act quickly. He can talk with other teams in January, and Atletico Madrid want him on the team as soon as possible. But Herrera wants to stay at Old Trafford. Even though he is currently behind Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Marouane Fellaini in the midfield pecking order, he still plays a big role on the squad. And he has all the necessary traits to become a captain in the near future. Players like that don’t grow on trees, so United did a good job exercising the option on him.
Mata is another player who has might move to Spain. Real Madrid want to sign the talented playmaker, but the chances of the former Chelsea star actually leaving the side are not very big. Despite the fact Mata has been left out in the past two Premier League matches, he has looked decent when given the chance as an inside-forward right winger. He can also play as a No. 10, so his versatility is a plus. And at 29 years of age and with six years playing in the English Premier League, his experience can be a huge asset as well.
Ashley Young and Daley Blind
We are grouping Young and Blind since both have been used as left-backs during the current campaign. Young has established himself as United’s first choice LB ahead of Blind, Shaw and Matteo Darmian, but time is not exactly on his side. Young will be 33 next July, and who knows what the future holds for him. He could easily decide to leave and play elsewhere, but there is no doubt this season has been a step in the right direction for him.
Blind’s case can be more complicated. The 27-year-old has not seen many minutes this season, but he is certainly one player every manager wants to keep around. He can play at left-back, centre-back, defensive midfielder, or central midfielder. That alone is a reason to keep him for at least one more year.