Manchester United have signed Ashley Young to a one-year contract extension, tying him to the club at least until the summer of 2020. Speculation on Young’s contract status had been ongoing for some time, with the full-back’s previous deal due to end this summer, making him a free agent. Reports had suggested that Young was seeking a guarantee of regular playing time before signing a new agreement, rather than the impasse being about financial terms.
As has been United’s policy for some time, players like Young who are in their thirties are typically only offered single year extensions. Originally signed as a winger, Young has transformed himself into United’s most reliable utility player. This season alone, he has been both first-choice left-back (displacing Luke Shaw in the first part of the season), and now first-choice right-back, displacing club captain Antonio Valencia.
While Young is still not a natural defender, and is certainly not short of flaws, his versatility and work rate make him a very useful squad player. He has also become an important veteran presence in the locker room, and is United’s de-facto vice-captain. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer acknowledged as much:
“Since I’ve come into the club, Ashley has been fantastic. His attitude and his experience around the place is vital for us because we have got a young team.
“We’ve got players that need some leaders in the dressing room and Ash is one of them so I’m delighted.”
Young follows Anthony Martial, Phil Jones, and Chris Smalling in signing recent contract extensions. Juan Mata and Ander Herrera are both out of contract this summer, while David de Gea has less than 18 months left on his current deal.