Five senior first team Manchester United players will leave Old Trafford as free agents when their contracts expire at the end of June.

Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Edinson Cavani will leave the Theatre of Dreams and form the first part of what is likely to be a gradual overhaul undertaken by new manager Erik ten Hag.

Bruno Fernandes was the last Manchester United player to extend his contract with the former Sporting Lisbon captain penning a new deal at the start of last month.

Bruno Fernandes Signs a Contract Extension at Manchester United
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The new deal extended Fernandes’ contract by a further year to 2026 which also includes the option of an additional 12 months, but United’s number 18 got a significant wage increase which put the Portuguese international within the club’s top earners.

There is no denying Fernandes’ form since arriving in Manchester from the Portuguese giants in January 2020 has seen him warrant a wage increase, but some of United’s contract extensions in recent years has left a lot to be desired.

Here we look at five contract extensions that didn’t make any sense…

Phil Jones

Manchester United v Norwich City - Premier League
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In February 2019, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in interim charge until the end of the season, Jones signed a new four-year deal with the option of a further fifth at the club.

Speaking at the time about the reasoning behind Jones’ renewal, the Norwegian said the 30-year-old, who was 27 at the time, was entering his “prime years”.

Since then, United’s number four has completed the full 90 minutes in a game on just once occasion for the first team.

After being signed by Sir Alex Ferguson from Blackburn Rovers for £17m in 2011, Jones has fallen further and further down the United pecking order.

It would have made sense for Jones and United to cut ties in the summer of 2019, but here we are three years later wondering if the England international’s 11-year stay at Old Trafford will come to an end.

It’s nigh on impossible that Jones will form a part of Ten Hag’s plans and the centre-halve needs to get back playing regular first team football.

Marcos Rojo

Manchester United Training Session
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The aggressive and sometimes reckless Argentine defender was another player who was on the periphery of the United side at the time of his contract extension being signed.

Rojo had been a regular under Jose Mourinho in the 2016/17 campaign before suffering a serious knee injury in the Europa League against Anderlecht.

After eventually returning from surgery in November 2017, the former Sporting Lisbon defender signed a new three-year contract at the club in March 2018 despite making just 10 appearances that season.

Rojo would only go on to make 17 further appearances at United after signing his new deal before leaving the club on a free transfer to join Boca Juniors in February 2021.

In that time the 32-year-old also had a five-month loan spell at Estudiantes.

Andreas Pereira

Andreas Pereira Signs A New Contract at Manchester United
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After scoring one goal in the 2018/19 campaign, the Brazilian signed a new four-year deal in July 2019 under the stewardship of Solskjaer.

Despite making 40 appearances for the Red Devils in the 2019/20 campaign, Pereira hasn’t made a competitive appearance for United since August 2020.

Following a season on loan in Serie A with Lazio, the 26-year-old is currently in the midst of a loan spell with Flamengo.

Pereira looked all set to leave Manchester United and join Flamengo on a permanent basis but the deal is no longer on.

Brazilian outlet Esporte claim that Flamengo will now not buy the midfielder when his loan spell with the club ends at the end of the season.

The likelihood of Pereira of returning to Manchester and the club having to find another potential suitor is growing.

Ashley Young

Ashley Young Signs a New Contract at Manchester United
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Young, who was the captain in the absence of Antonio Valencia, signed a new one-year deal with Reds in February 2019.

But less than a year later the full-back had been signed by Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan. Young was 33 when he signed his last United extension and it seemed like moving on in the summer of 2019 was the best move for all parties.

But instead of promoting youth, with the likes of Brandon Williams and Ethan Laird coming through the ranks, the Norwegian opted to extend Young’s contract.

Young has been back in the Premier League since last summer after re-joining former club Aston Villa.

Eric Bailly

Eric Bailly Signs a Contract Extension at Manchester United
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The Ivorian signed a three-year contract extension in April 2021, but it was only months later that Manchester United announced the signing of World Cup winner Raphael Varane.

The former Villarreal man found himself the fourth choice centre-back and that was before Phil Jones came back into the fold.

United’s number three hasn’t played any club football in 2022 as of yet and it was Jones who was brought into the side at Anfield and off the bench in the 1-1 draw against Chelsea.

Bailly hasn’t been anymore out of favour at Manchester United as he is now and with another centre-back likely to come to Old Trafford in the summer, it looks like the 28-year-old’s time at the Theatre of Dreams is coming to an end.

One thing that might frustrate Manchester United fans is that Bailly and Varane were never given the chance to establish themselves as the club’s first-choice centre-back pairing.

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