Manchester United have a core of senior first-team players who will see their contracts expire at the end of the season.
For many of these players, the club has an option of triggering a one-year extension clause.
Axel Tuanzebe does not have the option of a one-year extension in his contract.
Laurie Whitwell, in a mailbag exercise conducted by The Athletic in which fans were allowed to ask questions about United, provided big updates on the futures of these stars and the club’s plans for them.
Whitwell was quizzed by one fan about which voice at Old Trafford would have the final decision on contract extensions and who leaves. Would this be Erik ten Hag, John Murtough or even someone else higher in the food chain?
On this, Whitwell replied, “The decision should be collaborative, with Ten Hag giving guidance from a selection perspective and Murtough taking a longer-term view.”
He pointed out the Red Devils’ past mistakes of keeping a player unwanted by the manager to preserve their transfer value, only for the player to then walk away for free or next to nothing.
On the club’s unique practice of including one-year extension clauses in players’ deals, “United’s strategy to include optional years in contracts is not shared in the industry. It provides a sense of flexibility but most clubs agree full-term deals outright. Some agents have expressed disquiet about the practice as it can create uncertainty when a player enters their final year.”
The journalist revealed which players are almost certain to have their one-year extensions triggered by the club.
“It is logical that United push the button on Rashford, Shaw, Fred, and Dalot because each is contributing to the squad and should do so next season.”
“The same applies to De Gea too, even though he is the highest earner behind Ronaldo because letting him leave for nothing does not make sense when he is starting every week. United could conceivably try to renegotiate a reduced wage given De Gea’s age.”
“That would undoubtedly spark a grievance from player to club.”
As per Whitwell, Jones, who has today been left out of the 20-time English champions’ Premier League squad, will be allowed to leave. The club is also unlikely to make an intensive effort to keep Ronaldo, who was actively looking to depart Old Trafford during the transfer window.
“As yet, none have been informed of United’s intentions on their contracts. Rashford and Dalot might expect negotiations on fresh terms to start soon, with Fred and Shaw to follow.”
Fans will be hoping that the situations of players will be resolved rapidly and with decisiveness.
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