SportSoccer

Why Man United face a race to stop £150m of talent leaving for free

Mourinho has decisions to make about some of his squad players
Mourinho has decisions to make about some of his squad players

Manchester United face a race to tie down upwards of £150m of talent to new contracts in the next few months, with a host of star names heading into the final year of their current contracts.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger bizarrely suggested the prospect of a host of players entering the final year of their contracts was the ‘ideal situation’ when he was quizzed on the futures of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez on Sunday, as he stated his belief that most players will run their contracts down and move on free transfers in the future.

Yet United will be keen to get some of their most valuable assets tied down to new deals, with many of the players in the final years of their current deals likely to be offered fresh contracts over the next few month.

Resolving the future of Juan Mata may be the chief priority for United chiefs in the coming months, with the Spaniard who joined the club from Chelsea for £28.1m in January 2014 set to be a free agent next summer.

Mata, 29, doesn’t have a clause in his contract that will allow United to extend his stay for another year, but it appears he is keen to stay.

“I’m happy here,” said Mata on the club’s website earlier this year.

“I cannot control what people will think. It’s always been the same, every single summer. But I can control myself and my aim, and my head is focused on trying to win trophies here and still having a contract here.

“I feel privileged to play for Man United. It is something when I’m old I will always be proud of and I keep believing and thinking positively about winning big trophies here.”

Mata could start talking to other clubs about a lucrative free transfer in January unless United tie him down to a new deal before then and the same is true for Marouane Fellaini, who remains part of manager Jose Mourinho’s plans despite links with Turkish side Galatasaray over the weekend.

Galatasaray’s Sporting Director claimed his club were close to signing Fellaini, but Mourinho has insisted he will not be allowed to leave and a new contract may be the best way to end speculation over a player who moved to United for close to £30m in the summer of 2013.

Luke Shaw, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind are also entering the final yeas of their current deals at United, with the club having the option of extending those deals by an extra year.

Defender Guillermo Varela and midfielder Andreas Pereira are also in the final year of their contracts, so Old Trafford chiefs look set to be kept busy with contract issues well beyond this summer’s transfer window.