According to ESPN FC, Aston Villa target Michael Carrick has no plans to leave Manchester United despite increased speculation over his future.
Well, The Mirror reported over the weekend that Villa – along with Premier League duo West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa – have made enquiries about signing the 36-year-old following a lack of first-team action for the Red Devils this season.
However, ESPN FC says that despite his lack of game time and problems with injury and illness, he plans to remain at Old Trafford until his contract expires next summer, with United boss Jose Mourinho happy for him to stay because of his experience and leadership qualities.
It’s not been a great season for the midfielder.
After signing a one-year extension to his contract at the end of the previous campaign, the 36-year-old would have hoped to try and match or get close to the 38 appearances he made in all competitions for the Red Devils last term.
However, he has made just one outing – against Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup – because of injury and a mystery illness, which means that he is currently behind Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini in the central midfield pecking order.
While he may not be the first name on the team-sheet now, Mourinho is certainly right if he believes that Carrick bring experience and leadership to his team.
That is something that Steve Bruce would love to add to his team in the second half of the campaign as they look to seal a return to the Premier League at the second time of asking, while the 36-year-old would also be calm in possession and provide a shield in front of the defence.
While it seems as though he is happy to stay until the expiry of his contract, it could come down to how bothered Carrick is about playing regularly at this stage of his career.
The fact that he is probably fifth-choice in central midfield means that his minutes will be limited even when he does get back to full fitness, and he may decide that he wants to go and have one more challenge before he retires – leading Villa back to the Premier League from a tough Championship would certainly be that.