Manchester United are reportedly set to exercise contract options to extend the deals of four different players by another year until the summer of 2019, but such a move still offers no real certainty over the long-term future of any of the quartet at Old Trafford.
As things stand, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Daley Blind and Ashley Young are all due to be out of contract at the end of the season, but each has a clause in their contract allowing the club to add a further 12 months to their deal.
According to the Daily Telegraph, United will exercise all four of those options. At the very least it will ensure the club can command a bigger transfer fee should they wish to sell, but it remains only a short-term fix if the club wants to keep Herrera, Mata, Blind or Young longer.
The Telegraph equally notes that despite no public announcement, a similar option in Luke Shaw’s contract has already been exercised. He is now under contract until 2019, but again there is nothing at this moment to suggest it is any more than to simply protect his market value
Shaw has been heavily linked with an exit, although no buyer is thought to be lined up, and the mini extension gives United the ability to ask for a bigger sum so they can potentially recoup as much of their original 2014 investment as possible.
The United futures of Herrera, Mata and Blind have all become blurred in recent weeks. Herrera, named Player of the Year last season, is no longer an automatic starter – possibly partly as a result of a rumoured argument with Jose Mourinho in April. The same can be said for Mata and Blind, who have also fallen down the pecking order this season.
Ashley Young has actually become more important, but the versatile winger/full-back will celebrate his 33rd birthday before the start of next season and it remains club policy not to offer more than 12 months extension to players of a certain age.