Expiring Contracts - The 3 Players Who Manchester United Must Tie Down To New Deals
The feel-good factor is back at Old Trafford as Manchester United's interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has helped to lift the gloom surrounding the 'Theatre of Dreams' and fans can start to look forwards with something resembling optimism.
The Red Devils had been sweating on the future of several players in recent months but the move to extend Anthony Martial's contract is perhaps one of the most important pieces of business the club will do this season. There are still several players who are yet to pen a new deal though and we analyse their chances of extending their stay with the former Premier League champions...
An ankle injury ensured Ander Herrera struggled to make much of an impression during the early part of the season but there are signs that he is beginning to find full form and fitness. Out of contract in the summer, Herrera has scored three goals and affected three assists in 14 games since the start of December; and he has been thriving as part of a midfield three under Solskjaer. Reports suggest he is set to sign a new three-year deal. He has earned it.
Another whose deal runs out this summer, Juan Mata has struggled to nail down a regular position in the Manchester United team but his versatility and experience should not be underestimated. The 30-year-old has scored five goals this season and he will surely warrant a new deal, particularly if the questionable talents of Chris Smalling, Ashley Young and Phil Jones have been deemed worthy of new contracts recently.
David De Gea
United opted to trigger an automatic extension to David de Gea's deal that will keep him at Old Trafford until the summer of 2020, although they are reportedly in talks with the player over a whopping new contract. The 28-year-old has been a rock for the Red Devils, keeping four clean sheets in nine Premier League games under Solskjaer (he had kept just two in 17 before Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho as manager), and it is difficult to see the Spanish stopper finding a move to another club as the very best sides in Europe appear to be well stocked in the goalkeeping department.
Other players who are sweating on new deals include club stalwart and captain Antonio Valencia, who has made only one league appearance since September. Injuries have decimated the campaign for the 33-year-old and it remains to be seen if he warrants a contract extension.
It seems unlikely that Matteo Darmian will extend his unhappy stay at Old Trafford beyond the end of the season as he has been continually linked with a move to Italy, while the jury is still out on Andreas Perreira, 23, who made a rare appearance off the bench against Chelsea in the FA Cup earlier this week. Perreira needs to be playing regular football at his age but it is open to debate as to whether he will get that at a club like Manchester United.
The priority for United should be tying the experienced trio of Mata, Herrera and De Gea down for a couple more seasons at least.