Manchester United are ready to open contract talks with Javier Hernández following the club’s tour of the United States after earmarking the Mexican forward as next in line for a new deal following Chris Smalling’s decision to extend his Old Trafford contract.
By Mark Ogden
Hernández, who scored 20 goals in 45 appearances during his first taste in English football last season with Manchester United, is on an extended break after representing Mexico in last month’s Gold Cup and is not due to return until Paul Scholes’ testimonial against New York Cosmos on Aug 5.
The 23 year-old has already been linked with Real Madrid – speculation rejected by his representatives – since the end of last season and, although there are no concerns within Old Trafford of ‘Chicharito’ being lured away by a rival club, United’s policy of recognising the progress of emerging stars is set to see him rewarded with a pay rise and extended deal.
A £7 million signing from Chivas de Guadalajara, Hernandez’s current four-year deal is understood to be structured to ensure renegotiation on the basis of appearances, with Sir Alex Ferguson admitting recently that the youngster exceeded all expectations last season.
England Under-21 defender Smalling, who arrived at United in a £12m move from Fulham last season, has committed himself to the club until the end of the 2015-16 season after signing an improved contract on Friday. The 21 year-old, who will link up with the United squad in Seattle next week after being given an extended holiday following the European Under-21 Championships, is believed to have secured a £40,000-a-week deal after impressing in his first season at the club.
“I am delighted Chris has signed a new contract,” said Ferguson. “He has been outstanding since joining us. He’s an extremely talented young defender, quick, strong and reads the game well.”
Smalling, who made 34 appearances for United last season, said: “This is a great club and, in the short time I have been here, I have already achieved more than I could have ever expected to.”