Cape Town - Manchester United are expected to trigger Nemanja Matic's contract option to extend his stay at the club by one year after talks with the player on Monday.
The Red Devils were previously willing to let him leave this month, with the 31-year-old out of contract at the end of the season and being heavily courted by Italian giants Juventus.
However, recent injuries to midfielders Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay have the powerbrokers at the Theatre of Dreams now wanting to protect themselves.
Matic was signed by Jose Mourinho from Chelsea for £40m in 2017 and has flattered to deceive at times, falling down the engine-room pecking order under the present stewardship of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
It is understood the pair spoke briefly ahead of the weekend FA Cup bore draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers, angering some United followers with a negative display at Molineux, which saw the Manchester giants fail to register a single shot on target for the first time since 2015.
United know Matic can currently talk to clubs on the continent and Juventus' intermediaries have indicated they are prepared to hand him a sizeable signing-on fee as a free agent - on top of the £150,000-per-week salary he currently earns.
The powerful Serb won three Premier League titles during his two spells at Stamford Bridge although he has failed to pick up any silverware during his patchy time in Manchester.
United insiders, though, speak of a player who has maintained his professionalism throughout his time at the club and remains a popular member of the squad.
Matic is happy in England and it remains to be seen if that would remain the case should his employers now decide to retain him for another year, but the expected summer departure of Paul Pogba could yet have an impact on his overall long-term thinking.
It is a delicate balancing act for United as they actively scout new midfielders and also try to move out fringe players to free up space on their payroll.
- TeamTalk Media