Manchester United will not open contract talks with a quintet of first-team players despite their current deals due to expire at the end of next season, with the club having the option on all five players to add 12 months to their Old Trafford stays.
Juan Mata and Ander Herrera lead the group of players whose contracts will expire at the end of the 2017/18 season, having joined the club back in 2014. Daley Blind, Luke Shaw and Marouane Fellaini – who has enjoyed a resurgence under Jose Mourinho this season – are also contracted to the club until 2018, and would be allowed to discuss a move away from Old Trafford from 1 January 2018 if contract talks prove unsuccessful.
The 18-month barrier is usually an indication of swift talks between club and player in an effort to stop contracts being run down and result in them leaving on a free transfer, but the Manchester Evening News reports that United are in no hurry to open negotiations due to clauses that are included in all five contracts with the named players.
It’s claimed that all five players have a clause that can be activated by the club to extend their deals until 2019, which gives the United board breathing space to negotiate contracts that do not have long to run.
Both Mata and Herrera have benefitted from Mourinho’s arrival this season, with the former flourishing in a central role after being given a chance to shine in the No 10 position behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while Herrera was brought in to try and balance the side after Mourinho started the season with the robust Fellaini alongside club record signing Paul Pogba.
Manchester United vs Stoke player ratings
Manchester United vs Stoke player ratings
1/22 David de Gea
Didn't have much to do but fluffed his lines when called upon and let Stoke equalise. 5
2/22 Antonio Valencia
Not overly busy and managed to keep his shirt rigorously tucked in all game. 6
3/22 Eric Bailly
A solid game, continues to impress. 6
4/22 Chris Smalling
Not much to do but reliable enough. 6
5/22 Daley Blind
Give us this day our Daley Blind. The versatile Dutchman was reliable as ever. 6
6/22 Ander Herrera
Should he have been sent off? Let Robbie Savage debate that. As it was he had a decent game. 6
7/22 Paul Pogba
What does £100m get you these days? A decent if largely uninspiring game against Stoke, that’s what. 6 Jesse Lingard: An encouraging performance before being subbed in the second half. 6
8/22 Jesse Lingard
An encouraging performance before being subbed in the second half. 6
9/22 Juan Mata
Subbed for Rooney in the second half, but solid enough before that. 6
10/22 Marcus Rashford
Oh he’s quite good isn't he? Always lively but couldn't get on the scoresheet. 6
11/22 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Denied on multiple occasions, a frustrating afternoon, particularly for anyone who made him their Fantasy Football captain. 6
12/22 Lee Grant
He might have a name straight out of a 90s boyband but he had a stormer in goal. 8
13/22 Glen Johnson
Lively going forward, occasionally suspect in defence - I feel like we know this about Glen Johnson by now. 6
14/22 Ryan Shawcross
Largely kept United at bay, solid enough. 6
15/22 Bruno Martins Indi
Continues to look a good signing for Stoke. 6
16/22 Erik Pieters
Reliable if a little uninspiring. 6
17/22 Geoff Cameron
Unlucky that his great tackle provided the assist for United’s goal. 6
18/22 Glenn Whelan
Played to the best of his abilities but wasn't exactly superlative. 6
19/22 Xherdan Shaqiri
The Alpine Messi? Not on the basis of this. Could do better. 6
20/22 Joe Allen
Smashed it in from a yard out to equalise, got fouled a lot. Solid game. 7
21/22 Marko Arnautovic
Sulked quite a lot and got subbed in the second half. Not his best game. 6
22/22 Wilfried Bony
Where is the striker who terrified defences at Swansea? Not here today. 6
Blind meanwhile has proven his worth to Mourinho courtesy of his versatility, with the Netherlands international able to play in the left-back role vacated by Luke Shaw after the England defender suffered an injury in the 3-1 defeat by Watford in September. Blind and Fellaini still face uncertain futures given that Mourinho will have the chance to alter his squad further in January as well as next summer, but United are expected to keep Shaw at the club at all costs given his standing as one of the best young players in Europe.
United right-back Antonio Valencia is the only first-team player whose current deal is up at the end of this season, but again the club are refusing to panic as the Ecuadorian has a 12-month extension clause in his contract that can be triggered at any time.