Football Features

The reaction to Man Utd’s five contract extensions under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

By CJ Smith

Published: 15:45, 20 June 2019

Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer first stepped into the Old Trafford dugout in December 2018, five senior players have signed contract extensions with Manchester United. 

Some of the announcements have been met with widespread joy and adulation, given that they have been seen as a signal of intent from the Red Devils.

Others, however, have been meet with scorn, with many United fans seeing the renewals as just another step down the club’s path towards mediocrity in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.

At Squawka, we’ve put together some of the best fan reaction from all five of these contract extensions.

5. Scott McTominay

The youthful exuberance and robust edge of Scott McTominay was one of the very few bright sparks in what was otherwise a grim 2018/19 campaign for Man United.

The Scotland international played in only 10 of United’s 21 Premier League games following Solskjaer’s appointment but still managed 13 interceptions – the fifth-highest at the club – and won 6.48 duels per 90 minutes, the second-highest (behind Paul Pogba) rate of any United player to feature in more than two league matches, during that time.

McTominay penned his contract renewal on January 21st – with his new deal running until 2023 – and in hindsight, it was well deserved. However, at the time, the jury was still out on the 22-year-old’s potential, with many fans less than enthused with the announcement…

Others pressed the club to reveal contract extensions for David de Gea and Anthony Martial…

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4. Anthony Martial

Which brings us nicely to Martial himself. Between Solskjaer’s appointment and January 31st – when Martial signed a new five-year contract – the Frenchman notched up a rate of 2.09 successful dribbles per 90 minutes, the most of any United player to feature in more than three Premier League games during that time.

As he has done for most of his United career, Martial was right on the cusp of brilliance both before and during this spell, so a new contract seemed about right. Of course, the Red Devils faithful were pleased with the news…

Although, he’s still not convinced everyone at Old Trafford…

3. Phil Jones

International meme lord, the king of gurning and one of the final, dying embers of Ferguson’s reign at Old Trafford, Phil Jones penned a new deal on February 8th which could see him remain at Man United until 2023.

Given some of his horrendous blunders in a red shirt down the years, you’d think the announcement would be met with outright fury, right? Well, such is Jones’ status on social media – coupled with the fact that he’s just a nice guy, it’s hard to hate on him too much – United’s announcement of the extension was met with more sarcasm and comedy, rather than backlash…

2. Ashley Young

United fans didn’t have to wait long for another contract renewal announcement, although it still wasn’t the De Gea confirmation they all craved. The 11th February saw Ashley Young pen a deal to keep him around at Old Trafford until the end of the 2019/20 season.

To date, Young has made 243 appearances for Man United, helping the club win a Premier League title, FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League, as well as featuring in the England side which reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup. That said, at 33, his best years are well behind him, something which United fans were quick to point out when the club announced his new deal…

1. Juan Mata

That brings us to the latest player to renew his ties with the red half of Manchester, Juan Mata. Alongside Cesc Fabregas and David Silva, Mata is one of just three Spaniards to manage 50+ goals and 50+ assists in the Premier League and it would be hard to find anyone who would argue against just how brilliant of a playmaker he is, even in his twilight years.

Moreover, he is well renowned for his charity work and being an all-round top bloke, so, it’s no surprise to see United fans congratulating him on his new two-year deal…

However, others were rather perplexed why yet another of the club’s veterans was being handed a new contract when Solskjaer is obviously in search of young talent to take the Old Trafford outfit into a new era…