Despite a 3-1 victory over Championship side Derby in the FA Cup this weekend, negativity still lingers at Manchester United.
This is primarily down to a not terrible, but not great, fifth position in the league. Combined with this unsatisfactory placing, this is a side which rarely delights in the final third. This goes some way to explaining why Louis van Gaal’s men have scored the fewest goals inside the Premier League’s top eight teams, resulting in United lagging behind league leaders Leicester City by ten points.
While ten points may not seem like a gaping chasm at the beginning of a campaign, with spring beckoning this margin looks a whole lot more substantial, not least because the league is so erratic this season, with each point earned now more crucial than ever.
Although winning these points consistently enough has been United’s problem this season, holding onto those precious points could become more difficult from next season onwards.
The Sun are reporting today that Michael Carrick could be set to leave Old Trafford once his contract runs out in five months and he is ‘willing to listen to offers’.
To the naked eye, Carrick moving on may be deemed a sensible decision for both player and club, however he is a major figure in the United dressing room and one of the few senior players with a long-standing connection to the club. This type of connection as well as his invaluable experience is something that cannot be bought.
The tabloid also report that talks between Carrick and the club are at an early stage with regards to staying beyond his tenth year, having signed from Tottenham in the summer of 2006, but there will be clubs in America watching his progress.
Even aged 34, Carrick could still have a lot more to offer United. As one of the most tangible links to United’s extensive past successes, it may be more than simply what he offers on the pitch that United will want to hold onto.
With just five months to go on his current deal however, United fans may need to prepare for the worst.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena
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