Manchester United have made a calculated decision in triggering a one-year extension in Jesse Lingard’s contract amid interest from Sheffield United.

That is according to new Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively to correspondent Adam Williams amid this latest development in the transfer saga surrounding the 28-year-old.

Despite Lingard now being contracted until 2022, Sheffield United have shown real interest in striking a deal for his signature, as revealed by this website on Friday.

With this in mind, Maguire recognises that triggering the contract extension was smart thinking from United, who are looking to retain some value in the player rather than risk losing him on a free in the summer.

He told Football Insider: “It’s good strategic thinking. We’ve seen Manchester United do that with Paul Pogba, with Phil Jones, with Chris Smalling too.

“It does seem to be United’s general strategy. But the chances are that if these players aren’t regulars in the first-team, what they might be able to do is say ‘You’re currently on X, we’ll now offer you X minus £20,000 a week but this is still pretty good for you.’

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“It preserves the player’s value in the transfer market because once you enter that last six months it’s all up in the air.

“Players such as Jones and Lingard, they’re still relatively young. So it makes sense because at that stage in their career they still have a fair degree of value.

“You can see the rationale. United are treating them as commodities and there’s nothing wrong with that in the modern market. It protects the clubs and it gives the players some certainty as well.”

Lingard has been with United since he was eight years old, graduating from the club’s academy in 2011.

Since then, he has made over 200 appearances for the club and become a regular international, winning 24 England caps.

In other news, a top pundit has said he is certain that a certain Liverpool defender will start against United despite his recent injury concerns.