As the season started under Jose Mourinho, it was very clear that there were a large number of players who were entering a crucial period where contractual negotiations had to take place. Several of these players have been in the club for a long time but there was a large debate as to whether some deserved an extension and even if they did, what ambition was being shown by the club while extending. Amidst the debate, cropped up popular names such as Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini and Andreas Pereira along with Chris Smalling.
In the recent weeks that have followed under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United have been really persistent in trying to handle the contract situations and the administration has been severely working on it. While Chris Smalling's contract extension got a few grunts and Anthony Martial's extension got resounding applause, the latest extension of Phil Jones' contract has been met with vehement opposition and fury.
This has been followed after Ashley Young's extension faced a similar reaction. The extension is really peculiar, given Jones' injury record and his failure of cementing his place in the team on a consistent basis but there are logical reasons behind such an extension that usually gets undermined beneath the fury.
Here are three possible reasons behind United's strange contract extensions, especially when it concerns players such as Smalling, Jones and Young.
1) Squad Depth
There isn't a surprise when this justification is given time and again for such extension and if looked at logically to some extent, the reason stands true. Every top-six club, barring Arsenal and Spurs so far, boasts of the quality of depth and the two front runners of the Premier League this season, that is Manchester City and Liverpool, with their summer recruits, made it a point to highlight that squad depth matters immensely.
Manchester United have been in a period of constant transition and even after Jose Mourinho's reign, there are positions that need depth and filling. Phil Jones comparatively has been fitter this season and has got games under his belt. Ashley Young has been deployed constantly with faith on either of the full-back positions and Chris Smalling was a regular until he got injured.
Every top club needs depth due to the various tournaments the club will take part in and even if some of these players aren't world-class, they can still do the job under the right management or system. Squad depth helps the league run and to challenge for titles undoubtedly.