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Erik ten Hag’s request to the Glazer family to halt handing out new contracts will leave up to eight players sweating over their futures at Old Trafford. Reports suggest the Manchester United head coach wants to clamp down on renewing deals without the players earning it first – and that could leave some stars in jeopardy at the club.
According to The Telegraph, the Dutchman will seek to block any new contracts until he has made his mind up about which members of his team deserve to play a part in his long-term plans. And while their 6-3 defeat against Manchester City is unlikely to make his mind up, it is fair to say some players did not do themselves any favours at the Etihad Stadium.
As many as 10 United players will see their contracts expire this summer and, if Ten Hag’s wish is granted by the Glazers, there will be several big names fighting for their futures.
Express Sport looks at the eight of those who face a critical summer as Ten Hag attempts to remove the dead wood from his side…
The club retain the option to extend Ronaldo’s contract by a further year, but the unsettled Portuguese superstar may be ready to leave before his deal expires in 2023. The 37-year-old earns £515,000-a-week at Old Trafford, making him the highest-paid player at the club, but has only made six appearances this season under Ten Hag.
If the former Ajax coach finds a new striker who can play alongside Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial, Ronaldo may well find himself surplus to requirements and needing to find a new club.
Rashford also has the option to stay for another year, with United having the luxury of being able to trigger a clause in his contract.
But the England international’s patchy form may well be a point of concern for Ten Hag, and if the Dutchman can sell the 24-year-old for a sizeable fee in January, it may be the best option for all involved after a mixed spell for the forward over the past 18 months.
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Now until his ninth season with the Red Devils, Shaw faces a real battle to win back his place after Ten Hag brought in Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord.
Shaw’s inconsistent performances saw him dropped by Ralf Rangnick last season and he has struggled to make an impression since. Like Ronaldo and Rashford, he has the option to stay with the club beyond next summer. But at the peak of his powers, Shaw will want guarantees of first-team football before committing.
The arrival of Casemiro has cast Fred into the shadow and the Brazilian faces a dilemma over his future. While the 29-year-old would no doubt play some part in Ten Hag’s squad, the £52m midfielder is no longer a regular, with Casemiro taking his place.
He could be sacrificed in January as United look to make some money back from their £220m investment, with Ten Hag well stocked in the central area of midfield.
David de Gea
A four-time player of the year for Manchester United, De Gea now finds himself in limbo as Ten Hag considers moving for a long-term replacement.
The 31-year-old is the second-highest earner at the club behind Ronaldo and speculation persists that Ten Hag is looking to bring in Jan Oblak as his new No 1, which could end up with De Gea leaving on a free transfer.
From being loaned out to AC Milan to first-choice right-back, Dalot has made quite the comeback at Old Trafford over the past 12 months and leapfrogged Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the pecking order.
The Portuguese full-back has already expressed his wish to extend his stay in Manchester and the club know that they have a one-year extension in their pocket in case negotiations go sideways, but Ten Hag’s rule could deny him his wish.
Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it appeared there was an opportunity for Jones to rebuild his career at United, but six appearances over the last two seasons have rendered the centre-back as a financial liability for the club on £75,000-a-week wages. If he is handed a new contract, there must be some serious questions asked of the hierarchy.
The 24-year-old’s career at United looks to be all but over after failing to make a single appearance under Ten Hag this season. The youth product has struggled to build on his early promise and a nightmare loan spell with Aston Villa
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