Transfer Focus: Potential extension evidence of Rojo’s rise under Jose Mourinho

According to reports from The Sun, Manchester United could hand Marcos Rojo a twelve-month contract extension at Old Trafford, with talks to thrash out a deal expected at the end of the season.

What’s the word?

Rojo’s current terms are due to expire in summer 2019 but having unexpectedly made himself a regular fixture in the Red Devils’ defence this term following two underwhelming campaigns under Louis van Gaal, The Sun claim Jose Mourinho will hold talks with the Argentina international at the end of the season with the view to extending his contract by a further twelve months.

The British tabloid even quote an unnamed source as saying

“Jose has been impressed by his desire and attitude and is happy for him to stay. They will all sit down at the end of the season and discuss it. Rojo also has no issues with remaining. He does have two years left on his current money, but that will stay the same and they’ll be no increase. It is just to keep things comfortable for everyone. Jose likes Marcos and things are going well for them both.”

Does Rojo deserve a new deal?

This time last season, you would have laughed at the idea of Rojo signing a new United contract. In fact, the vast majority fully expected him to be sold last summer, especially after the Old Trafford outfit made Eric Bailly the first signing of the Jose Mourinho era.

But to give credit where its due, Rojo has made the most Premier League appearances, 17, of any United centre-back this term and formed a strong partnership with Phil Jones – another player who started the campaign on the fringes of the first-team squad but fully took the chance to impress following injuries to Bailly and Chris Smalling.

The 27-year-old still isn’t everybody’s cup of tea and has endured an inconsistent spell in the Premier League. But he’s a really nasty and gritty defender – employing the kind of dark arts Mourinho loves – who adds a bit of pace to the heart of United’s defence. Clearly Jose’s a bit of a fan and a twelve-month extension rather than a new contract is smartly cautious strategy.

Will that affect United’s summer plans?

Possibly. Most expect United to spend big on another centre-half this summer with Victor Lindelof continually mooted as Mourinho’s preferred defensive target throughout his first season at Old Trafford. But offering Rojo a contract extension suggests the Red Devils boss may be more than content with the options already at his disposal – namely Bailly, Smalling, Rojo and Jones – and looking to spend the money in other areas. United will have to invest heavily up front if Zlatan Ibrahimovic doesn’t elect to stay another year, whilst Michael Carrick’s potential departure would also create a gap in midfield.

Alternatively, it could well be another centre-back who gets the chop. Chris Smalling hasn’t been at his best this season and Jones and Rojo have been preferred for much of the campaign. Could he become the casualty of the South American’s new deal?