Manchester United Transfer News: Reds Right to Act Fast on Paddy McNair Contract

Christopher AtkinsContributor IOctober 19, 2014

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05: Paddy McNair of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford on October 5, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

According to reports on Sunday morning, Manchester United are close to agreeing a new deal with breakthrough defender Paddy McNair that will extend his ties to the club beyond the end of the season.

McNair, 19, was off the first-team radar just a few months ago but has been one of several young talents to benefit from Louis van Gaal's overhaul at the club, starring in recent successes over West Ham and Everton.

Goal.com's Paul Clennam reports:

Fellow United youngster Tyler Blackett is also poised to sign a new deal, and McNair has been told talks over a contract extension will progress in the coming weeks. The centre-back has just under 12 months remaining on his current contract which is worth £2,000-a-week - and his new deal will see him earn a significantly larger sum.

While there would appear little danger of the Northern Irishman walking away from the club just as he is on the cusp of a major career step at Old Trafford, United are doing the right thing in tying down their younger players.

Van Gaal is attempting to create a meritocracy at Old Trafford, where reputations are meaningless in comparison to performances, and rewarding his young standouts is a great way to send a message.

Over the past few seasons, it would be fair to say a number of players at Old Trafford had become comfortable in their roles in the squad. However, that is no longer the case with Van Gaal having proven that he cares little for reputations or sentiment.

When Tyler Blackett and McNair played well, they were retained in the starting line-up, even at the expense of returning senior players. Van Gaal has his methods, and he is keen on seeing them implemented.

Blackett has also impressed in difficult circumstances.
Blackett has also impressed in difficult circumstances.Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It is, of course, far too early to talk about either young defender as a future major United star. Both have much to learn if they are to ever come close to that level. However, their performances have demonstrated they have a shot at the big time. They have, in several games, outperformed senior defensive colleagues.

Among the club's supporters impressed by Van Gaal's determination to give youth a chance is former manager Sir Alex Ferguson. ESPN.co.uk report that the Scot told in-house TV channel MUTV:

What has pleased me with Louis is he's given seven young kids their debuts this year and that falls into line with the history of our club.

I think the supporters particularly respond very, very well when a young player gets his opportunity. Young people have to be given an opportunity, particularly if they've got ability. If you wait too long, they just stagnate and you lose them.

With the likes of Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria and Daley Blind now beginning to settle nicely at Old Trafford, there is a sense that the future is once more bright for United. Part of that vision has to be mixing the foreign stars with young, local talent.

Van Gaal is going out of his way to give the club's youth players confidence and security from which to forge their careers, whether or not they may ultimately succeed at United. No club can compare with the number of league footballers produced over the past 10 years, even though few have broken through with the Red Devils.

McNair has his own injury concerns to overcome but has played his way into his manager's plans with both club and country. The next stage is to continue that progress while combining under-21 games with whatever opportunities come his way with the first team.

His manager has shown faith in his ability, further demonstrated by the speed with which a new deal is being arranged. Now, it is simply up to the player to keep working hard on his game and continue impressing.