Manchester United may have had a quiet January transfer window so far but with the most persistent speculation surrounding the club focusing on potential departures, most notably David de Gea, the club still has a lot of work to do to keep its current playing staff in place.
Ed Woodward replaced David Gill as Man United’s Chief Executive in summer 2013. Gill had a highly successful partnership with then manager Sir Alex Ferguson for many years, with the club regularly tying down key members of the squad to long-term deals without great difficulty.
By contrast, Woodward, who played a key role in last summer’s highly productive transfer window, seems to have had less success securing players to long-term futures.
Indeed, no less than 19 players’ contracts are set to expire before the end of next season, eight of which will see their current contracts come to an end this summer.
It isn’t just fringe players with their deals set to expire though. Whilst Louis van Gaal might be quite happy for players such as Anderson and Ben Amos to leave this summer, he would surely be more alarmed to see that Michael Carrick and James Wilson, amongst others, can’t be certain to be involved in his plans for next season.
The Man United boss will also need to decide whether to offer new deals to Radamel Falcao, Paddy McNair and Andreas Pereira, whilst Darren Fletcher looks to have already decided on a move to West Ham this month.
Perhaps more worryingly though are the players which will see their contracts expire next summer. David de Gea and Robin van Persie are some of the biggest names featured, though names such as Anders Lindegaard and Nick Powell will probably be of less concern to the manager.
There are several established defenders on that list and even if Louis van Gaal does not see any of Rafael, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling or Jonny Evans in his plans for the future, it would seem wise to secure at least some of those players to new deals to protect their market value in the summer and use them more sporadically. Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard and recently signed Victor Valdes will also see their deals expire at the end of next season.
Van Persie and De Gea are perhaps the most important players whose contracts expire at the end of next season. Whilst Van Persie has publicly stated he is unsure whether he will be offered a new deal based on current form, a new deal for De Gea is absolutely essential. A fantastic performer this season, a new deal for the Spaniard might only be to ensure a higher transfer fee, should he leave for Real Madrid.
Whilst Woodward and Van Gaal will want to add fresh faces to the squad in the summer, it is of great importance that Man United offer new contracts to a number of current players. Although the club might want to improve the quality in its starting eleven, the foundations for a strong squad with strength in depth can’t be provided without the guaranteed future of more of its current first team players.