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New deals in offing at Old Trafford

The club have allowed a host of senior squad members to reach the penultimate year of their contracts, ultimately inviting a fraught and expensive round of renewals next year.

Manchester United's traumas over contract renegotiations are unlikely to end with Wayne Rooney's new deal.

The club have allowed a host of senior squad members to reach the penultimate year of their contracts, ultimately inviting a fraught and expensive round of renewals next year.

The players whose Old Trafford contracts expire in June 2012 include the occasional captain Patrice Evra, the influential midfielder Darren Fletcher, the leading goalscorer Dimitar Berbatov, the adaptable Ji-sung Park and the Brazil international Anderson.

All five are important elements of Sir Alex Ferguson's plans.

In contrast to other elite European clubs, United have moved towards a policy of leaving contract renewals until the summer before expiry.

The strategy has helped United to keep their wages-to-turnover ratio at the lowest level in the Premier League. However, encumbered by an estimated 750 million (Dh4.35 billion) of leveraged debt following the Glazer family's takeover, United's ability to pay market-leading salaries has diminished.

The extra resources invested in keeping Rooney in situ he almost doubled his wages will limit the club's manoeuvre room in future renegotiations.

Rooney's teammates will have noted the impact of his explicit flirtation with Manchester City on his contract discussions and would be forgiven for expecting their own substantial pay rises.

Though United have yet to initiate contract talks with Evra, the France left-back is understood to be calm about his situation.

Anderson, 22, whose initial progress has been slowed by knee surgery, has had trouble adapting to life in England, but he has been advised to continue his career at United if possible.

sports@thenational.ae

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