Football

Manchester United must tie Carrick down to a new contract

Carrick is the man to tie down - before Januzaj. (©GettyImages)
Carrick is the man to tie down - before Januzaj. (©GettyImages).

Michael Carrick is much more important to Manchester United than Adnan Januzaj. All the commotion about getting the emerging young talent tied down to a new long-term contract at Old Trafford is distracting David Moyes from where his attention should really be - at the negotiating table with the club's current Player of the Year.

The 32-year-old midfielder has less than 12 months remaining on his existing deal, meaning he will be free to talk to clubs outside the Premier League as soon as the transfer window reopens in January.

There will be no shortage of enquiries.

Carrick enjoyed a return to the international fold this week, making only his 31st appearance for England in last night's crucial World Cup qualifying victory over Poland at Wembley.

Criminally under-capped, he is easily our country's best holding midfielder. His array of passing skill, and ability to maintain possession, will be crucial to any chance the Three Lions have of success at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil next summer.

If his selection for the 2-0 win on Tuesday is anything to go by, Roy Hodgson has realised just what an influential role the Manchester United star can have in the middle of the park, alongside captain Steven Gerrard, and hopefully will continue to deploy him in South America.

Moyes, meanwhile, is yet to lay an offer at Carrick's door, despite the fact the former West Ham and Tottenham midfielder is the club's most consistent performers, and one of the best operators in his position in the Premier League.

Given Manchester United's current dearth of midfield talent, it is even more surprising that the club has not already moved to secure Carrick's long-term future with the offer of a new two, or three-year contract.

The standard procedure for any player over the age of 30 at United is a rolling one-year deal, but when you consider that Carrick is a model professional who takes his career very seriously, there is no danger of him retiring any time soon, and - injury permitting - is quite capable of emulating the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes by playing well into his late 30s.

His natural position - sat in front of the back four - also means that his advancing years will not affect his game considerably, so he should be able to continue playing the way he has so successfully for the past decade, for many more seasons yet.

Five Premier League titles, one League Cup and a Champions League winners medal is a fantastic return during his seven-year spell at Manchester United, proving just how good value the £16million Sir Alex Ferguson paid to bring Carrick to Old Trafford from White Hart Lane in 2006 was.

They are still getting a return on the investment.

Carrick himself has made no secret of his desire to finish his career at Manchester United, saying in an interview with The Sun earlier this month: "I'd love to carry on playing as long as possible at this club.

"It's a fantastic club and I've had great times here. I feel good at the moment, I've just turned 32 so I've got a bit of time yet."

Januzaj might well prove to be a future star in the game, and it's understandable that Manchester United want to avoid another Paul Pogba situation where they lose the player for nothing, and he goes on to excel elsewhere in Europe.

But, you can bet all the money in the world that losing Carrick will be far more detrimental to the club, and particularly Moyes, as he looks to oversee a smooth transition by bringing continued success in the post-Ferguson era.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
Michael Carrick

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