MANCHESTER UNITED are ready to activate contract clauses on four of their stars as they look to increase their value in the transfer market.
Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Daley Blind and Juan Mata are all in the final year of their existing deals at Old Trafford.
But United have an option to lengthen their contracts by a further 12 months – and the Telegraph say the club are about to activate all of them.
Yet one of the main reasons to lengthen their commitment is understood to be to increase their values in the transfer market so they do not lose them on the cheap.
Of the quartet, only Young and Herrera are fully established as regular members of Jose Mourinho’s first team plans in the Premier League.
Young has excelled this season operating as a left wing-back, and the signs are there Mourinho wants to keep him at United.
But the future of the other three players is less certain – with Spanish midfielder Herrera being chased by Atletico Madrid.
Herrera is a regular in the starting line-up under Mourinho, yet there are suggestions he would like to return to La Liga.
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And United do not want to risk letting the player run down his contract and leave on a free transfer next summer, so taking up the clause at least gives him value in the transfer market.
Dutch defender Blind has fallen down the pecking order this season with Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling all ahead of him in Mourinho’s mind.
While Mata’s future at the club looks to be coming to an end with the midfielder no longer getting opportunities in the Premier League or in Europe.
Both Blind and Mata would be courted by sides across Europe, and again United are unwilling to let them leave on free transfers.
Keeping them contracted until the end of next season allows them to name a reasonable price before the pair are allowed to leave.
It is understood United have already exercised their option on defender Luke Shaw who was also in the final year of his contract.
Shaw seems certain to leave Old Trafford having failed to impress Mourinho since recovering from the broken leg that ruled him out for a year.