Cape Town - Manchester United are expected to trigger
Nemanja Matic's contract option to extend his stay at the club by one year
after talks with the player on Monday.
The Red Devils were previously willing to let him leave this
month, with the 31-year-old out of contract at the end of the season and being
heavily courted by Italian giants Juventus.
However, recent injuries to midfielders Paul Pogba and Scott
McTominay have the powerbrokers at the Theatre of Dreams now wanting to protect
Matic was signed by Jose Mourinho from Chelsea for £40m in
2017 and has flattered to deceive at times, falling down the engine-room
pecking order under the present stewardship of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
It is understood the pair spoke briefly ahead of the weekend
FA Cup bore draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers, angering some United followers
with a negative display at Molineux, which saw the Manchester giants fail to
register a single shot on target for the first time since 2015.
United know Matic can currently talk to clubs on the
continent and Juventus' intermediaries have indicated they are prepared to hand
him a sizeable signing-on fee as a free agent - on top of the £150,000-per-week
salary he currently earns.
The powerful Serb won three Premier League titles during his
two spells at Stamford Bridge although he has failed to pick up any silverware
during his patchy time in Manchester.
United insiders, though, speak of a player who has
maintained his professionalism throughout his time at the club and remains a
popular member of the squad.
Matic is happy in England and it remains to be seen if that
would remain the case should his employers now decide to retain him for another
year, but the expected summer departure of Paul Pogba could yet have an impact
on his overall long-term thinking.
It is a delicate balancing act for United as they actively
scout new midfielders and also try to move out fringe players to free up space
on their payroll.
- TeamTalk Media