The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United project is yet to hit lift off on the pitch, but the amount of new contracts signed by key players and emerging talent, shows the belief in the manager.
Mason Greenwood, who has stepped into the first team squad properly this season, was the latest player to sign a new long-term contract.
The 18-year-old penned a new deal until 2023 with the option of a further year.
Greenwood is one of 12 academy products to feature in manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s matchday squads this season.
Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe, Victor Lindelöf and David de Gea are among the players to have signed new deals recently, with young left-back Brandon Williams signing his own deal his week as well.
These players alongside the summer signings Dan James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire and academy star Scott McTominay, who also signed a new deal since the Norwegian took the reigns on a permanent basis, are going to form the core of Solskjaer’s rebuild.
Despite United having their worst start to a season for 30 years, the players are showing their belief in Solskjaer being the man to lead the rebuild project by committing their long-term future to the Red Devils.
Who will Solskjaer be looking to tie down to a new deal next?
The England international is worryingly out-of-form, but he remains a key part of Solskjaer’s long-term project.
Lingard’s contract expires in 2021, but the club do have the option of triggering a one-year extension, the academy graduate will be eager to sign a new contract with his beloved club.
If Lingard can rekindle the form that he produced when Solskjaer took the reigns on a temporary basis and performances that made him a regular in Gareth Southgate’s England side, United’s number 14 can be a real asset for United.
Bailly’s time at Manchester United has been blighted with injuries, despite signing from Villarreal three-years ago, he has only managed to make 50 Premier League appearances.
With Solskjaer making it clear that Tuanzebe, Maguire and Lindelöf are his favoured centre back options, the Ivory Coast international may have to settle for being fourth choice when he returns from his latest knee injury.
The 25-year-old is out-of-contract in the summer, and he will be able to negotiate with foreign clubs as of January regarding a potential free transfer.
There have been performances during his time at Old Trafford when Bailly has looked a commanding calming presence, but there have been other times where he has been exposed.
He has struggled for consistency, but a new contract would give him time to prove his form and fitness.
Gomes has been given starts in the Europa League against Astana and AZ Alkmaar, but he is having to wait patiently for his chance to break into the Premier League team.
The 19-year-old is out-of-contract in the summer and United cannot afford to lose one of their most talented academy prospects.
With Juan Mata and Lingard getting ample chances despite their poor form, Gomes could be becoming growingly frustrated with Solskjaer’s reluctance to play Gomes in his favoured number ten position.
It is up to Solskjaer now to convince Gomes that he is a key part of his plans and tie him down to a long-term contract, because if given the chance, he could become the clubs number ten for the next decade.
The Paul Pogba saga
United’s talisman’s current deal runs until 2021 and the club do have the option of extending by a further year, but ideally it would be great for Pogba to shrug off the transfer rumours and sign a new deal with United.
The concern for Solskjaer is, how does he convince Pogba who has won the World Cup, to stay patient at United and trust the project, Pogba wants to be challenging for league titles and the Champions League.
If United’s number six opts against signing a new deal, the club will be left in the unenviable position of deciding when to cash in on him, similar to Chelsea with Eden Hazard.
The club has to ensure that if Pogba does sign a new deal with the club, it isn’t the staggering wages that were handed out to Alexis Sanchez.
If he believes in the direction the club are going in he will sign, but if not the club cannot be held to ransom by Pogba and his agent Mino Raiola.
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