Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has instructed the club’s hierarchy not to hand out contract extensions to first-team stars, The Telegraph report.
The Red Devils currently have Cristiano Ronaldo, David de Gea, Fred, Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford and Diogo Dalot, who have entered the final year of their deals.
The board have the option to trigger 12-month extension clauses, but it was recently suggested that they could also open talks over new long-term contracts.
However, that plan could be put on hold for the time being with Ten Hag making it clear that he would like to assess his players until the winter World Cup.
The Dutch tactician wants to determine which players warrant a new deal and is keen to ensure that they don’t fall into comfort zones after penning extensions.
Under former executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, United had the tendency of stockpiling with regular renewals without merit. Ten Hag wants to move away from that culture.
Ten Hag does not want to keep outcasts in squad
Over the years, United have generally triggered the 12-month extension clauses. One firm example was with Juan Mata last season when he could have been released on a free transfer.
The Spaniard had become a fringe player within the United ranks, but the hierarchy still made the decision to extend his £150,000-a-week deal. He played just over 400 minutes all season.
United have previously handed renewals to squad players to preserve their transfer value, but that has barely worked in their favour. Ten Hag will surely want to put an end to that trend.
The Dutchman will want to keep players on merit. Judging from the current squad, the likes of Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones could leave on free transfers at the end of the campaign.
The rest of the expiring contract players have been involved under Ten Hag, but there could be a big decision to make on De Gea and Ronaldo in particular with their hefty weekly wages.
The duo currently earn £375,000 and £515,000 respectively on a weekly basis. Ronaldo is no longer an assured starter in the league, and we won’t be surprised if he is released next year.
Similarly, De Gea could head for the exit door if the club can land a quality young shot-stopper. United were recently keeping a close eye on Porto’s Diogo Costa in a match against Braga.
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