Woodward hopeful of tying down more Man Utd stars to new deals

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The Old Trafford chief has told investors he is working on securing more key personnel on long-term contracts

Manchester United want to tie more of their key players to new contracts by the end of the season - including David de Gea and Marcus Rashford.

While Old Trafford executive-vice chairman Ed Woodward is keeping his options open about appointing a permanent replacement for Jose Mourinho - sacked in December - he has been working to secure deals with key playing personnel.

In a conference call with investors on Thursday, he ruled out making further announcements about the manager's position until the summer after drafting in Ole Gunner Solskjaer as interim boss.

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But he is hopeful of signing up more of the club's stars to long-term commitments after the likes of Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Scott McTominay, Phil Jones and Ashley Young all signed contract extensions this season.

He is reportedly in ongoing negotiations with De Gea and preliminary talks with Rashford - both out of contract in summer 2020.

Midfielders Juan Mata and Ander Herrera - both free agents this summer - are also on the to-do list.

"We are a long way through the ones we had planned to do in this season," Woodward told investors.

"But obviously we want to finish off the final few as rapidly as we can."

Solskjaer's position will not be resolved until the close of the season, despite a clamour in some quarters to appoint him sooner.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Fulham vs Man Utd Premier League 2018-19

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino remains a front-runner alongside the Norwegian, but Woodward was happy to praise Solskjaer after he led United to 10 wins from his first 12 games in charge.

"In December we parted company with Jose Mourinho and appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as our caretaker manager through to the end of the season," he said.

“Ole has been joined by Mick Phelan, who previously spent 14 years with us as a coach, including five as Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant manager.

"They have had a fantastic start, reviving the fortunes of the team and in the process setting a new Manchester United record of winning their first eight consecutive matches.

"The team has accumulated 25 out of 27 points in the league with some fantastic performances."

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