Manchester United have opened talks with defender Chris Smalling over a new long-term contract ahead of the January transfer window.
The England international's current deal runs out at the end of the season but Smalling is among a whole host of first team players who could be kept at Old Trafford against their will, as the club holds the option the extend his contract by an extra 12 months.
Rather than simply activating the clause and then looking to cash in, however, Manchester United have approached Smalling with a view of keeping him in the north-west for their long-term future.
The Daily Mail claim that United have already opened contract talks with Smalling ahead of the January transfer window. It is said that the defender is looking to receive a 50% pay increase on his current £80k-a-week deal.
Smalling has made 14 appearances across all competitions under José Mourinho, the joint highest tally among Manchester United's centre backs, alongside Victor Lindelöf.
The microscope has been fixed on United's defence this season due to their last-minute attempts to sign a new centre back during the summer transfer window, where targets ranged from Harry Maguire to Diego Godin.
In the end, no deal could be made with any of their long list of transfer targets, and Mourinho's focus has now shifted back to his current crop of players, prompting the club to enter negotiations with Smalling.
After going through the lows of missing out on a place in Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad, Smalling has been one of United's best defenders alongside Lindelöf this season, and the club hope that they can announce Smalling's new deal before the end of the season.