Man Utd consider incredulous decision over contract renewal with payrise for star Ten Hag has never used

Axel Tuanzebe being subbed on for Eric Bailly

Man Utd might activate their option to extend the contract of a defender who has never appeared to be in the plans of manager Erik ten Hag, according to a report.

Several Man Utd players are approaching the ends of their contracts. As a result, the club need to decide who to keep on and who to release. They have already protected themselves in some cases by utilising 12-month extension options.

For example, Marcus Rashford, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw and Fred all saw their deals extended into 2024 before Christmas. The club are being more patient with a decision about David de Gea and some others.

Now, a report on Football Insider has revealed someone else could be in line for a contract renewal being triggered.

It is claimed that Man Utd might extend the contract of Axel Tuanzebe to the end of the 2023-24 season, as they have the option to do. Otherwise, he could leave for free this summer.

Tuanzebe is currently out on loan at Stoke City after failing to earn a place in Ten Hag’s plans. However, by renewing his deal, Man Utd might be able to cash in on him, rather than losing him for nothing.

That said, it would be a surprising and somewhat risky strategy. According to the report, the option to extend Tuanzebe’s contract entails a payrise of £20,000 per week, which would take his earnings up to £62,000 per week.

Man Utd have been covering most of his current salary during his spell with Stoke, in which he has made just four appearances. Tuanzebe joined the Championship side on deadline day of the January transfer window.

READ MORETen Hag concedes leaving Man Utd was best thing to happen to attacker who could wreak havoc this weekend

Tuanzebe faces uncertain future but Man Utd return makes little sense

Although he has recently earned a couple of starts as a centre-back, it doesn’t seem likely at this stage that Tuanzebe would be staying at Stoke.

But Man Utd will at least be hoping he can generate some interest between now and the end of the season. Their plans to update his contract and protect his value could backfire if they can’t line up other suitors.

At the age of 25, Tuanzebe needs to find somewhere to settle and make the most of his career. He is extremely unlikely to get past Raphael Varane or Lisandro Martinez in the Man Utd first team at centre-half.

Yet with doubts about the futures of Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones, there could be room for a rotation role back with his parent club.

Even then, a reintegration into the setup doesn’t seem like a move that would be in the best interests of any party. Maybe Man Utd would be better off simply cutting ties with their academy graduate in June.

In other news, Man Utd have learned that one of the other players they have out on loan isn’t going to be bought by the club they sent him to.