Did Manchester United make a blunder by offering Chris Smalling a new contract?
Manchester United ended the week before last with a crushing 4-1 win over Fulham at Old Trafford. However, things went from bad to worse as they lost 2-1 to Valencia midweek and suffered a humiliating 3-1 defeat at the hands of old rivals Liverpool at Anfield.
They made a lot of mistakes on the field in these two heavy defeats and also made another glaring one off the field by offering center-back Chris Smalling a new contract extension.
By signing this new contract extension, Smalling is tied to United till June 2022 with an option for extending it for one year. This mistake should not have made by the United board especially since the club is going through one of its biggest defensive crisis in contemporary times. Smalling is not the best center-back going around- far from it- he does not even warrant a place in the United starting XI.
Sure, the former Fulham man has had some good games in the recent past, leading United's defense with aplomb along with Swede Victor Lindelof but the worrying fact is that the Red Devils have just two clean sheets in the Premier League this season.
Smalling has often made errors and left the center of defense open and David de Gea to himself. United do not deserve such average players and offering him a new contract extension goes against the philosophy that Jose Mourinho is trying to imbibe at the club.
Smalling is good enough to play at smaller clubs but surely has no place at Old Trafford. What this move effectively does is tell other non-performing players at Manchester United that no matter how they perform, they will be rewarded with lucrative contracts just on account of them having been faithful to the club for a long time.
Manchester United need to do away with players such as Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Matteo Darmian if they want to go ahead in the right direction. By making these players stay, the Red Devils are not showing real ambition.
If there are to be any fruitful European endeavors in the future, United need to sign world-class players and not those who are bits-and-pieces stars at most. Jose Mourinho needs to let his ruthlessness reflect in the transfer business.
By offering Smalling a high-paying new contract, United are not freeing up the wage bill that they will be needing if they sign Milan Skriniar or Kalidou Koulibaly in January.