Jesse Lingard’s new and improved contract has raised some eyebrows, but Jose Mourinho believes it is a “very important” deal for Manchester United.
A late bloomer at Old Trafford, the 24-year-old established himself in the first-team under Louis van Gaal last season after several loan spells.
The past year has seen Lingard score in United’s FA Cup, EFL Cup and Community Shield triumphs, as well as establishing himself as a member of the England national team.
That progress led United to agree a new and improved deal that will keep him at Old Trafford until 2021, with the option for a further year.
The reported £100,000-a-week wages have shocked some onlookers, but Mourinho believes it is an important deal to wrap up.
“No, I think he is a good player already,” Mourinho said when asked if Lingard was different to any preconceptions.
“And because of his age and because of his happiness in the work, I think he has conditions to be even better.
“Apart from that, English, made in the academy – very important for the club these players made at home – so it is a very important contract.
“And I congratulate him and obviously the board to agree with him and to give this stability also for me because it is important for me to know that he is not in danger, that he is in a situation under our control.”
While Lingard’s United career is on an upward trajectory, Adnan Januzaj’s appears to be heading in the opposite direction.
After making such an impressive Old Trafford breakthrough, the 22-year-old has spent this season on loan at Sunday’s opponents Sunderland.
Januzaj will be unavailable to face his parent club this weekend and Mourinho says a decision has been made on his long-term future, but would not outline those plans.
Asked if he has decided what he was going to do with the attacking midfielder at the end of the season, Mourinho simply said: “Yes. I have decided. (Can I say what it is?) Not to you.”