United’s contract list shows why van Gaal will have eye on 2016

The number of Manchester United players out of contract in 2016 will have Louis van Gaal working hard to extend deals in the next 12 months or so.

Much has already been written about the huge job Louis van Gaal has to bring quality players to Manchester United this summer.

It is one thing appointing one of the most experienced and well-respected managers in the game. But it is quite another convincing players and rival clubs to accept the inevitable transfer fees that will follow.

Such has been seen with Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller and now Arjen Robben, all linked with United and yet all quick to dismiss those links. Although in the case of Kroos it appears to be more the decision of the club than the player, with no new contract forthcoming and yet no transfer on the horizon either.

So van Gaal has work to do to transform this United side from last season's under-achievers back into not just challengers but champions.

And yet that is only part of the job, because a quick look at the stars out of contract in the next few years shows that van Gaal not only has to buy new players, he also has to ensure the best of those currently at the club remain.

The Manchester Evening News published an article on Saturday revealing how long each United player has left on their current contract.

And the year that really stood out was 2016, which may seem a long way off but is not when you consider that next summer, those players will have just 12 months left on their current deals.

So who are these players van Gaal should look to tie down in the next 12 months or so?

Well there is David de Gea, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell to name a few – all players you would think have a future at the club now van Gaal is in charge.

There are others, too; the likes of Ashley Young, Rafael and Javier Hernandez, who have all been tipped to leave Old Trafford sooner rather than later. As, in truth, has Kagawa. And yet you sense van Gaal will find an effective place for him in a way Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes failed to previously.

So in short, as much as this summer is about signing new players, the next 12 months will also see a number of new deals being offered. Of all those deals, De Gea’s is easily the most important, along with the young defenders being tipped to take over from the departing Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

So when van Gaal finishes with Holland, he will have to hit the ground running at United. But then, he will know that already…

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