United ready to offer Blanc new deal
By Adam Marshall. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
SIR ALEX FERGUSON may not be the only man postponing his retirement at Manchester United, as planetfootball.com sources suggest that Laurent Blanc is to be offered a new contract at Old Trafford.
The French defender has overcome a difficult settling in period in The Premiership and performed with distinction recently, the late error of judgement against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup aside.
Indeed, the 36-year-old appears to be having a growing influence alongside Gary Neville in a settled back-four, and is set to be asked to change his mind about hanging up his boots in the summer.
The much-decorated former star of Les Bleus is to be offered a fresh one-year contract, worth around £1.5 million, and chief executive Peter Kenyon is bidding to persuade Blanc to extend his stint in Manchester.
Ferguson is now keen to stay on himself, and wants the veteran former Internazionale man to help tutor his younger defenders, particularly the likes of Wes Brown and John O'Shea, who was surprisingly overlooked for Mick McCarthy's latest Republic of Ireland squad.
It is also understood that The Red Devils remain very much in the hunt for Auxerre's highly-talented Philippe Mexes, seen in France as the heir to Blanc's defensive throne, and United's bid to fend off competition from their Premiership rivals and Italy will be signifcantly boosted if they still have the youngster's idol on their staff.
However, Blanc will need convincing after only reaffirming recently his desire to quit at the end of the season.