You can bet there will be questions regarding the transfer window and how they want to bolster the squad when Manchester United’s next permanent manager finally sits down during their unveiling press conference.
It’s a hazardous narrative to say United’s recovery relies on more money being flung at their star-studded squad after a decade of wild spending that has seen the club rack up a £1.4 billion gross spend on players, but there is mitigation this time around. United’s roster has not only failed to deliver this season, but it presently consists of a collection of men who will only be diminished at the end of the season when the contracts of Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani, and Jesse Lingard all expire.
United’s rebuild will entail not just reinforcing what they already have, but also replacing the talent that is due to depart. A clear long-term strategy must be determined, and whoever is in charge must be given the authority to carry it out properly.
The first few months of the next permanent manager’s tenure will undoubtedly be defined by the players he or she is able to bring to Old Trafford. However, selecting who at the club merits a new contract to reflect their long-term significance will be possibly the most essential component in their immediate success.
Seven senior players’ contracts will expire in 2023, and the next manager’s first task will be to provide clarity about their futures before even considering new acquisitions.
Even if the club might trigger an optional one-year extension on their current contracts, David de Gea, Fred, and Luke Shaw should all be offered new contracts to recognize their value to the team. They’ve all demonstrated enough in the last 12 months to suggest they’ll continue to play an important role in the years ahead.
Diogo Dalot is another player whose current contract should be extended, despite glaring reservations about his defensive skills. He still has a lot to give offensively, and even if he isn’t the first choice on the right side of defense, a new contract would at least safeguard his value, though the team does have a one-year option.
Protecting a player’s value could also be a consideration when considering what to do with Marcus Rashford next. The England international is weighing his options at the club, and time is running out to cash in before he loses control of his next move.
United is almost certain to extend his contract until 2024, however it would be difficult to justify a new long-term agreement at this time when he is not a regular and reliable starter.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Nemanja Matic are two other senior players whose contracts are set to expire next year, with no opportunity for the club to extend them beyond the summer of 2023. Ronaldo (who would be 38 by then) would need to have a fantastic final season at the club to be offered a new contract, whilst keeping a limited squad player like Matic, despite his undeniable professionalism and experience, seems pointless.
All of Axel Tuanzebe’s, Phil Jones’, Andreas Pereira’s, Ethan Laird’s, Teden Mengi’s, Nathan Bishop’s, and Tom Heaton’s contracts will expire next year, though it’s hard to argue that any of them are a pressing concern for the next manager.