The Star reports that ‘The United left-back, 25, still has two years left to run on his current deal, which is worth £150,000-a- week.
‘But after producing his most consistent run of form yet at Old Trafford, Shaw is to be offered terms running till the end of 2025-26, with a weekly pay rise of £40,000 included.’
Such a move on the part of outgoing executive vice chairman Ed Woodward would be typical and prove once again that the supposedly commercially savvy former investment banker is incapable of learning from his mistakes.
First of all, there is no need to reward Shaw with any kind of new contract when there are still two years left to run on his current one. What if his form suddenly plummeted back to where it was 12, 18 months ago? What if, heaven forbid, he sustained a serious or recurring injury that had a significant impact on his game?
Second, there is absolutely no need to give players over the age of around 22-23 five year contracts. Such a length of contract is useful where a player’s value could rocket as he matures and develops, to protect the nurturing club from predators. But Shaw is 25 years old. He is unlikely to be the subject of £100 million plus bids from the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid. A three-year deal would have been more than adequate.
This tendency to award unnecessarily long contracts to older players has already caused problems for United. Wayne Rooney’s failing legs could not last as long as the contract penned by Woodward and it cost millions to buy him out of his deal. Phil Jones was recently awarded a five-year renewal despite spending 90% of his time on the injury table and being surplus to requirements most of the time even when fit. United also lost millions on Alexis Sanchez because of his contract duration.
If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decides that Dean Henderson will be his number one next season, David de Gea’s five-year, £375,000 per week deal means that he, too, will probably need to be bought off at huge expense.
There is also a psychological element to giving players long contracts. It can make them less competitive. Many believe that Shaw’s upturn in form came as a result of the competition brought about when Alex Telles was bought from FC Porto as a direct rival for the left-back slot. If the England man is given a five-year deal, that adrenaline surge provoked by fighting for his place will quickly evaporate.
It is reassuring to think that Shaw will remain at Old Trafford for years to come and if he is able to keep up the form he has shown this season, there are few if any better left backs in the world. But if The Daily Star’s report proves to be true, United are set to take a wholly unnecessary move to make that happen and in so doing may cause the exact opposite to occur.
If it aint broke, don’t fix it.