Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract at Manchester United expires at the end of the season, although it’s highly unlikely the player will stay at Old Trafford beyond the January window following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan this week.
Marcus Rashford, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw also have deals that expire at the end of the season, but United have options to extend those contracts, which is expected, while positive talks are underway for a new deal for Alejandro Garnacho.
While Garnacho is another whose contract expires in June 2023, he is set to sign a new deal, just like Rashford, Dalot and Shaw.
However, there are some at the club – whose contracts expire at the end of the season – that have uncertain futures and it seems there are six players, including Ronaldo, that are the most likely to leave in Erik ten Hag’s second summer in charge, or perhaps even earlier.
MEN Sport has listed those six players below.
There’s no denying that Phil Jones has overstayed his welcome at United, despite being a model professional and admirably overcoming his injury problems. The problem is that there has been a lack of concrete interest from other clubs in signing him.
Jones, 30, hadn’t played for United for two years until he returned against Wolves in January. He was one of United’s best players in that defeat, but Ralf Rangnick then threw him into the deep end against Liverpool at Anfield last season.
The centre-back still has ability and could add value to a squad elsewhere, but he now needs to leave United.
Ronaldo gets a mention in this out-of-contract bracket, but he’ll almost certainly leave before the end of the season. Ronaldo said he does not respect Ten Hag in his interview with Morgan and it would be impossible to come back from that.
It’s a sad state of affairs that Ronaldo’s second stint at the club is ending like this.
Although United have the option to extend Fred’s deal, which expires at the end of the season, there have been reports elsewhere that the midfielder could be released on a free transfer, which would mean he could be set to leave Old Trafford.
Fred is currently at the World Cup with Brazil, but he’s made just four starts in the Premier League under Ten Hag this season and the Dutchman does not value him as much as interim manager Rangnick did during his tenure.
The 29-year-old celebrates his birthday in March and it will be interesting to see whether he’s offered a new deal.
Tom Heaton, 36, has been absent from the matchday squad in recent weeks through injury and that has given loanee Martin Dubravka the opportunity to make his debut for the club against Aston Villa in the League Cup this month.
Heaton is a valued member of the goalkeeper contingent at Carrington and he could yet sign a one-year extension.
Another academy graduate who has really failed to make the grade at Old Trafford, Axel Tuanzebe has gone on loan to Aston Villa on three separate occasions during his time at the club and he embarked on another loan to Napoli last season.
United’s decision to recall Tuanzebe, 25, from his third stint at Villa Park in favour of a loan move to Napoli was disastrous. The writing was on the wall for Tuanzebe when Napoli left him out of their squad for the Europa League just after he made his move to Italy and he made just two appearances for the club across six months, playing 130 minutes.
Tuanzebe’s contract at United expires in 2023 and that means a permanent exit needs to be arranged in January to ensure yet another player doesn’t leave on a free transfer. Tuanzebe’s market value has hardly increased after his time in Naples.
David de Gea is currently the second-highest earner at the club behind Ronaldo and United have the option to extend his deal, but they are expected to offer the Spaniard reduced terms, should Ten Hag decide to offer him a new contract.
There are concerns about De Gea’s ability with the ball at his feet and Ten Hag might yet let him leave the club in the summer.