A report from Jamie Jackson of The Guardian claims that Michael Carrick is on the verge of signing a new two-year contract. Carrick's current deal expires at the end of the season, and the extension would take the 32 year old through the end of the 2015-16 season. While club policy dictates that players over 30 receive only one-year deals, manager David Moyes is willing to make an exception for the England midfielder.
This is certainly good news. Carrick is the one constant in United's midfield--last season he was the club's most important player behind Robin Van Persie. Even his detractors, those who find his passing too cautious and his legs too slow, will not want to lose him on a free. Moyes is right to make an exception to the one-year rule for a player who is so rarely injured. What's more, deep-lying playmakers seem to age better than most. Andrea Pirlo is arguably a more effective player now than he was in his "prime" at Milan. Keep an eye out for an official announcement from the club in the next day or two.
What this deal does not do is obviate the need for midfield reinforcements in January. Expect United to revisit the Ander Herrera deal, and possibly to bring in another player if Anderson moves on as expected.
- Danny Welbeck has joined Carrick in withdrawing from the England squad. The forward's sore knee continues to bother him.
- Robin Van Persie wants a break too. He's pulled out of the Netherlands squad for the games against Japan and Colombia in an effort to close the book on those niggling groin and toe injuries.
- Borussia Dortmund chief Hans-Joachim Watzke confirmed that Marco Reus has a release clause of around 30 million pounds in his contract. Stop salivating, all of you. EDIT: Reus's release clause does not kick in until the summer of 2015.
- Chilean loanee Angelo Henriquez continued his fine form for Real Zaragoza as he scored his fifth goal in ten appearances for the Segunda Division side. Nick Powell is also making the most of his chance to play regular football. The attacking-midfielder put in another strong performance for Wigan in their 1-0 win against the mighty Yeovil Town.
- Will Keane, who is still working his way back from a serious knee ligament injury last year, joined up with his brother Michael in the England Under-21 camp.