Manchester United have secured the short-term futures of four first-team players after triggering extension clauses in the quartet’s contracts, The Daily Telegraph report.
Meanwhile, Luke Shaw will be given until the end of this season to prove himself at the club before the Reds decide whether to invest heavily in a new left-back.
Midfielders Juan Mata and Ander Herrera, as well as defenders Daley Blind and Ashley Young, were set to become free agents this summer. All were able to begin speaking to other clubs as soon as the January transfer window opened.
Blind and Herrera, in particular, have seen far less first team action this season than last. Young, meanwhile, was reportedly in talks for a new deal at the club for some time, but continually held out for a higher wage and frustrated United.
Mata has been drawing interest from FC Barcelona and Real Madrid in his home country of Spain, with both rumoured to be interested in taking him at the end of his contract. His future partly depends on what happens with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the out-of-favour attacking midfielder who could return to former club Borussia Dortmund or move to Italian giants Inter Milan.
Manager Jose Mourinho has given himself a year’s extra thinking time to decide on the long-term futures of the four players. Though Herrera, Mata and Young are fan favourites, many Reds would admit that there is a hope that the club will be in a good enough position in July 2019 not to want to keep them on big wages with better players coming through.
At this stage, Mourinho cannot afford to lose a fantastic utility player in Young, a great creative playmaker in Mata and a midfielder in Herrera who shone last season and could do so again. Blind may still leave the club, having been linked to Barcelona who are searching for a replacement for the departing Javier Mascherano.
However, United tying him down to one more year gives them the ability to get more money and recoup the whole of Blind’s initial transfer fee if he does indeed leave.
Michael Carrick, club captain, is likely to retire at the end of this season and Zlatan Ibrahimovic could do the same. With two senior players going, Mourinho is unlikely to want to let figures like Young and Mata go.
Marouane Fellaini has still not agreed to extend his five-year stay at Old Trafford, having rejected offers from the club. He looks likely to leave the club, though Luke Shaw has already had a one-year contract extension clause triggered.
That means his deal lasts until June 2019, and he’s set to be given until the end of the season to prove his worth. United will reportedly decide this summer whether to continue having faith in Shaw or to heavily invest in a new left-back.