Marcus Rashford has reignited Manchester United’s season but the Red Devils are not yet ready to reward him with a lucrative contract.
The striker, 18, has become an instant hit at Old Trafford after scoring four goals in two games but the club are keen to ensure they don’t make the mistakes they made the last two times it appeared they had potentially class talents on their books.
Goal have reported that United will introduce a new incentive-based salary scheme, meaning Rashford’s first professional contract will be worth around £15,000-per-week with added bonuses for performance.
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It makes perfect sense. Rashford’s current deal, reported to be worth around £500-per-week, expires in 2017.
But United do not know how good he can become. He could be a superstar, he could turn into a flop. Rightly, United want to keep him at the club to find out.
The new pay structure was introduced with Federico Macheda and Adnan Januzaj in mind. The pair both made bright starts to their Old Trafford careers - nobody is forgetting Macheda’s strike on his debut against Aston Villa anytime soon - and were handed new, inflated contracts as a result.
The Italian’s was worth £20,000-a-week while Januzaj received a deal worth £50,000-a-week.
That goal against Villa was just one of four Macheda managed in the league in six seasons at United, while Januzaj can’t get a look in at the club despite being recalled from a loan spell at Borussia Dortmund in January.
They’re learning their lessons in Manchester.
That said, Rashford can’t have imagined his first professional contract would be such a highly-discussed deal. Before February 25, the night he broke onto the scene with a brace against FC Midtjylland, he was just another player in United’s academy who shared time playing for the youth team with studying for his A-levels.
Talk of the town
Now he’s the talk of Carrington. He followed up the two goals in the Europa League with another pair against Arsenal on his Premier League debut, helping United get their season back on track.
The top four finish that once looked unlikely is now definitely on after United went level on points with Manchester City following a 1-0 win against Watford.
They also have a mouth-watering tie against Liverpool in the Europa League last 16 to look ahead to. It will be the first time the rivals have met in European competition and both teams are rounding into form at the right time.
On March 13, Louis van Gaal’s team host West Ham in the FA Cup quarter-final. The Hammers haven’t tasted victory over United since 2010 and it’s been nine years since they last won at Old Trafford.
West Ham have played better football than United this season but they are yet to come up against the Red Devils’ secret weapon, Rashford.