Manchester United are at risk of losing six of their best young players in 2015. James Wilson, Tyler Blackett, Paddy McNair, Jesse Lingard, Reece James and Andreas Pereira are all out of contract in the summer, leaving them free to begin talks with overseas clubs from January 1.
This surprising news comes courtesy of the Daily Mail, who question Louis van Gaal’s ‘sluggish’ attitude to tying the starlets down to long-term deals.
The report adds that United executives had held discussions over new deals for Wilson and Blackett - who have both made an impact with the senior team this season - but contracts have not yet been signed.
Pereira most likely to leave
McNair, Lingard, James and Pereira have also made appearances for Manchester United’s first team under Van Gaal.
Of the six players it’s believed Pereira is the most likely to leave Old Trafford next summer. The Brazil Under-20 international, who was born and raised in Belgium, is reportedly considering his future at Manchester United and may be tempted to look elsewhere for regular first-team football.
Wilson a target for Spanish clubs?
Wilson, however, could be a transfer target for leading Spanish clubs. The talented 19-year-old, who has made eight Premier League appearances for the Red Devils this term, is widely regarded as one of the best young strikers to have emerged from United’s youth ranks for years.
Blackett and McNair have been thrown into the deep-end by Van Gaal this season, with so many of United’s first-choice centre-backs out injured at various times, and both have performed admirably given the circumstances.
James, meanwhile, was one of the stars of Manchester United’s pre-season tour of the United States, but his one and only competitive appearance this term came in August’s humiliating 4-0 defeat to MK Dons in the Capital One Cup second round.
Unpredictable year ahead
It is not expected that any of the players - with the possible exception of Pereira - will choose to leave Manchester United, but all six could depart Old Trafford on free transfers in 2015 unless offered new contracts which meet their demands.
Fans will fear a repeat of the situation which led to Paul Pogba’s Manchester United exit in 2012. The midfielder could not come to an agreement with the club over a new deal and subsequently secured a move to Juventus, where he has established his reputation as one of the best young players in world football.