Manchester United believe they are close to striking a deal that will ensure James Wilson stays with the club for the long-term future, although the position of fellow youngster Tyler Blackett is somewhat more unclear.
Wilson has impressed so far under Louis van Gaal, who apparently holds the forward in high regard, and he’s made a number of performances despite the fact he’s been competing with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao.
However the 19-year-old's contract is set to run out at the culmination of this campaign, meaning that he could leave the club for free. As a result he’s been able to talk to other clubs since January, and what might have been a straight-forward extension has taken on a new significance as United race against time.
Van Gaal's decision
According to Goal, Van Gaal is desperate to stop him leaving Old Trafford, although he’s not so concerned with the future of Blackett, who has also featured for the first-team this term. The 20-year-old defender was drafted into the side when an injury crisis hit the back-line earlier on in the campaign, but has since struggled for game-time while fellow academy graduate Paddy McNair has found more opportunities.
With the futures of both Van Persie and Falcao up in the air at this point it makes sense that United are looking to secure Wilson’s commitment sooner rather than later. The deal on the table is thought to be set to take his wages from a poultry £1,500-a-week to around £30,000; a figure far more reflective of his importance to the side.
As such it’s clear the club are taking things seriously, and they’re right to given how good Wilson could be. The prodigal young striker already has four goals in all competitions for the first-team, and as he continues to develop he might negate the need for Van Gaal to spend big money on buying in a long-term replacement for Van Persie.
As for Blackett, the jury is still well and truly out with regards to his suitability for a place in the starting XI. Though he never looked out of his depth when given the chance to play nor did he shine, and with an overhaul of the defence more than likely to take place in the summer there could be even more competition for places.
Are Wilson and Blackett both good enough to be handed long-term contracts? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below...