While Manchester United fans will still be excited by the news that Luke Shaw has signed a new five-year deal, Jose Mourinho and Ed Woodward are still left with a string of contract issues that need resolving.
Although the United boss has previously made it clear that no player would be able to run down their contract at Old Trafford, they now have 10 first team players who could leave on a free next summer.
1. David de Gea
While United fans will be glad to see Shaw sign a new long-term deal at Old Trafford, there is no doubt who remains their number one priority.
Although a poor start to the season may have prematurely ended any kind of title push, David de Gea has once again only seen his stock rise.
While he hasn’t tasted Premier League success since his debut year back in 2012/2013, De Gea is widely regarded to be on of, if not the best goalkeeper on the planet.
Named in the PFA Team of the Year in five of the last six seasons, he has also picked up the Manchester United Player of the Year on three occasions.
Unsurprisingly, Mourinho and Manchester United are desperate to tie down the 27-year-old.
However, it appears that De Gea is far from convinced.
Heavily linked with a dream move to Real Madrid over the past few seasons, Spain’s #1 believes he is entering his prime and is desperate to secure more major honours.
Given United’s current state of affairs, it has been reported that the former Atletico shot-stopper is reluctant to commit his future at Old Trafford.
After seeing a move to the Bernabeu fall through back in 2015, De Gea signed a new deal with a further year option attached.
While the extra year will be triggered automatically, Ed Woodward will be bracing himself for a January filled with inquiries about the Spaniard’s availability.
Proud of my team always pic.twitter.com/fhahzYjJbd
— David de Gea (@D_DeGea) October 21, 2018
2. Antonio Valencia
Arguably the most loyal of Manchester United’s post-Alex Ferguson servants, Antonio Valencia will complete a decade of service at Old Trafford at the end of the season.
The man who usually takes responsibility of wearing United’s armband, the 33-year-old has made over 200 appearances across all competitions.
Valencia has also lifted the Premier League title on two occasions.
While the Ecuadorian has remained a constant for the Reds, it seems his tenure in Manchester is coming to an end.
A string of poor performances at the start of the season, Valencia was dropped from United’s matchday squad for their 3-1 defeat away at West Ham earlier in the month.
Now reaching the twilight of his career, the makeshift full-back also had to publically apologise for liking an Instagram post calling for Mourinho’s dismissal.
Joining over the summer, 19-year-old right-back Diogo Dalot has received plenty of plaudits and is seen to be Valencia’s long-term successor.
Making 39 appearances last year, United will likely monitor Dalot’s progress before deciding on whether to cash in on Valencia in January.
Like many others on the list, his contract will automatically roll into another 12 months on June 30th.
3. Matteo Darmian
Although many were excited by Matteo Darmian’s arrival in Manchester back in 2015, it has been nothing short of a disastrous three seasons for the 28-year-old.
No longer seen to be the young blossoming full-back, he has managed to make just 54 Premier League appearances during his tenure at United.
The lowest on Mourinho’s pecking order of full-back options, the Reds will certainly be looking to try and cut their losses on their £12million investment come January.
With interest from Italy over the summer, most notably a loan offer from Napoli, Darmian has managed to make just one appearance in any competition so far this season.
Although Mourinho does have the chance to offer the Italian international another one-year deal, it is incredibly unlikely he will be rewarded with a fourth year at Old Trafford.
4. Chris Smalling
Although Mourinho has made it no secret of his desire to bring in a new central defender, United could still look to tie Chris Smalling down before next summer.
Despite being heavily criticized, the now former England defender has been a constant in his boss’s plans.
Even if it is somewhat reluctantly, Mourinho has started Smalling in seven of United’s opening eight Premier League outings.
Playing his part in United’s Europa League success two years ago, Smalling also helped the Reds finish with the second best defensive record in England’s top flight.
Winning eight major honours during his eight years in Manchester, Smalling also picked up the Reds’ Players’ Player of the Year award in 2016.
Although a spot in Mourinho’s XI will be far from assured, at 28, the 31-cap England international is reportedly keen to commit his future to Manchester United.
Signing his latest contract back in 2015, that deal does not contain a one-year extension.
If the two parties are unable to reach an agreement, Smalling will be allowed to sign a pre-contract agreement with any foreign side as of January 1st.
I’ve been very critical of Chris Smalling in recent months, but it’s fair to say that he’s been Manchester United’s best centre back this season. Once again was quality today. Has become one of Mourinho’s trusted players.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) October 20, 2018
5. Phil Jones
While one English defender looks likely to extend his tenure, another one’s future is in far more doubt.
Shipped off against Tottenham after just 58 minutes during their 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford, Jones is seen to be another United defender in the last-chance saloon.
Also missing the decisive penalty against Derby last month, the 26-year-old is yet to feature for United since and has not even been named in Mourinho’s matchday squad.
With the likes of Victor Lindelöf and Eric Bailly clearly held in higher regard, United might be interested to cash in on the central defender in January.
Like Smalling, Jones’ current contract does not offer an optional one-year extension.
6. Ashley Young
Carrying on the list of United defenders entering the final year of their contracts, Ashley Young is another who will be seeking reassurances over his future.
A clear faviroute of Mourinho’s, while Luke Shaw may have dispossessed him of his position at left-back, Young has frequently been utilized on the right-hand side of United’s defence.
Back in March, United activated Young’s one-year extension clause and Mourinho has made it no secret that he hopes the 33-year-old will extend his stay.
Currently on a rolling contract, an option to renew his deal is based on Young’s performances this season.
Another who is frequently in possession of United’s captain’s armband, the versatile winger has made five Premier League appearances this season.
Given his lack of sell on value due to his age, Mourinho will be in no rush to finalize a deal but could be keen to keep hold of a man who heavily featured at the World Cup.
No player on the pitch at Stamford Bridge made more tackles (5) or more interceptions (5) than Ashley Young during Chelsea 2-2 Man Utd.
Stood up against another tough test. pic.twitter.com/ZBcqKfPq7t
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 20, 2018
7. Ander Herrera
Although the arrival of Fred and an ankle injury has forced Ander Herrera to watch from the sidelines for the most part, the midfielder has established himself as a fan faviroute during his four-year stay.
Making 26 appearances last season, he also picked up United’s Player of the Year award in Mourinho’s debut season.
While the Spaniard has recently been linked with a return to Athletic Bilbao, Herrera made it clear over the summer that he wanted to extend his current deal at Old Trafford.
‘’I have been able to play more than 160 games right now, so what I have in my mind is to go for the 200 games and keep adding games for the club and for myself.”
“The way the club treats me is perfect. The love the fans show for me couldn’t be better or bigger, my family is happy in Manchester, so I will just try to give everything and use all my strength and effort to keep deserving to play for this club.”
Always heavily praised by his boss, much like Young, Mourinho has previously expressed how important the 29-year-old is to United both on and off the pitch.
A tireless work ethic that has endeared him to the Stretford End, Herrera is another who will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with any side outside of the Premier League on January 1st.
8. Anthony Martial
If De Gea is United’s main priority, it’s safe to say that Anthony Martial runs him a close second.
Scoring both goals in Saturday’s draw at Stamford Bridge, the Frenchman is showing signs of the player United invested £36million in back in 2015.
Although many fans were worried over the summer by Martial’s agent, Philippe Lamboley, announcing that the 22-year-old was likely to leave, the issue could be coming to a conclusion.
After his Man of the Match showing over the weekend, it has been reported that the winger could be on the verge of signing a new five-year deal in Manchester.
On his current contract that runs until June 30th 2019, United do have the option to extend the deal for a further 12-months.
Given his eye-catching run of form, Mourinho and Woodward will be desperate to get Martial to pledge his future to the Red Devils.
Anthony Martial at #mufc (9,860 minutes)
⚽️ 41 goals = 240 minutes per goal
🎯 37 assists = 266 minutes per assist
📈 78 G+A = 126 minutes per goal and assist pic.twitter.com/wwBUh5ykuE
— utdreport (@utdreport) October 21, 2018
9. Juan Mata
Another man on the list who does not have an additional year clause in his contract, it seems that Mourinho and Juan Mata could be partying ways for a second time.
Despite both parties being in negotiations for several months, no progress has been made and Mata will be free to sign an agreement with any foreign side on January 1st.
While the 30-year-old has attracted interest from his former side Valencia, The Sun are reporting that Mata is keen to extend his stay at Old Trafford.
“Mata’s dad is a tough negotiator and it has not gone down well how this situation has been allowed to drag on.
“United will try their best to convince them to stay, but it is by no means certain that even extra cash will do the trick.
“It’s purely about playing for Juan. The club know they have left it late and are desperately running out of time.
Making 40 appearances across all competitions last season, Mata certainly offers United’s midfield something different.
Although he has featured in six of United’s opening Premier League games, the Spaniard has found a substantial amount of minutes hard to come by.
Despite his lack of time on the pitch, Mourinho has insisted that he wants his former Chelsea protege to sign a new deal.
“Juan and Ander, even if they are not playing or not playing a lot, not starting matches, by the personality point-of-view and character point-of-view, by what they represent in the modern society in football, they are almost unique pieces that I also don’t want to lose.”
Over his four year stay in Manchester, Mata has lifted four major honours, including an FA Cup and the Europa League in 2017.
10. Andreas Pereira
Finally on the list is 22-year-old Andreas Pereira.
Despite featuring heavily at the start of the season in the absence of Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, the Brazilian youth international has been resigned to his usual place among United’s substitutes.
While the youngster has not started since United’s 3-2 loss away at Brighton in August, Pereira has shown glimpses as to why he is so highly touted around Carrington.
After signing a new two-year deal in 2017, Pereira publically announced that Valencia were attempting to sign him on a permanent basis following an impressive loan spell at the Mestalla Stadium.
While the midfielder also has an additional 12-months in his contract, the extension has to be agreed to by both parties.