Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Ashley Young is on the verge of leaving Manchester United. At the same time, the Portuguese manager said that he would like to keep the former England international at the club considering that United are short on numbers, especially in the midfield. Mourinho said, via the club’s official website:
“The only player that I am aware of possibly leaving is Ashley Young, a player that I would love to keep.
“If I could choose, yes definitely, he will stay with us. We don’t have many players and in midfield we don’t have many options.”
These words are unlikely to stop Young from considering a stay at Old Trafford, at least for the season. The player has a contract with the club until the summer of 2018, but there has been tremendous interest from Chinese clubs in the last few weeks. Young is on a contract worth around £5 million per season, and he could be earning a similar wage in China for the next three years. There is also a possibility of the player remaining in the Premier League with clubs like Watford, Everton, and West Brom expressing interest in his services.
The former Aston Villa winger moved to United in the summer of 2011 for a fee of around £17 million. He lost his importance within the squad only since last season. Former boss Louis Van Gaal utilised the player in a number of roles including left back, although with only limited success. This season, he has very rarely featured in the first team – he has made only two Premier league starts. Even though he did feature in the 4-0 win over Reading in the third round of the FA Cup, it was his first action for more than a month.
The 31-year-old moving away from Old Trafford represents a significant problem for Jose Mourinho, who recently confirmed that Bastian Schweinsteiger has a key role to play in the second half of the campaign after being frozen out in the first. The departures of Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin have certainly affected the club’s strength in depth. Progression into the fifth round of the FA Cup means that the club will have packed schedule between February and March due to their involvement in the EFL Cup final and the Europa League.
United have been looking at strengthening the squad this week with a certain Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko at the top of their wishlist.