Ashley Young is ensuring that he will be part of Jose Mourinho’s first-team plans before committing to a new contract with the Red Devils, sources have told ESPN FC.
The 33-year-old, whose contract is set to expire come the end of the current campaign, has been offered a fresh one-year deal with the option of extending his stay at Old Trafford to another season. Young was Mourinho’s starting left-back last season, but after losing that berth to a resurgent Luke Shaw, has become United’s regular right-back, starting nine of their last 10 matches including blockbuster clashes against Juventus and Manchester City last week.
Antonio Valencia, who until last season was the right-back, is fit again post injury but has been kept out of the team by Young. The former Aston Villa winger wants to stay at Old Trafford but will demand regular first-team football while factoring his decision.
Sources have told ESPN FC that there the winger-turned-defender is attracting interest from teams in the Premier League and Major League Soccer. The England international, who played for Gareth Southgate’s wards at the World Cup in Russia, has not chalked out playing abroad before winding down his playing career.
United have already ensured that Shaw has signed a new long-term contract, while negotiations are ongoing with the likes of Ander Herrera, David De Gea and Anthony Martial. The Spaniard could become a free agent come season end if fresh terms are not agreed upon, but sources have told ESPN FC that talks are positive.
United will mostly trigger an option in De Gea’s deal to keep him at the club until at least 2020, but negotiations over a longer deal are proving difficult, with little progress made over the last month.
Ashley Young may be a regular starter now, but he must remember that he is not getting any older and that the current scenario around Old Trafford will not let him negotiate with too many chips. With Mourinho already looking for defensive reinforcements, Young’s dalliance may see him decide to offload the veteran and look for a younger, hungrier and faster alternative.