Jose Mourinho is ready to hand Michael Carrick an extended stay at Manchester United by offering the midfielder a new one-year contract at Old Trafford.
Carrick, an £18.6 million signing from Tottenham Hotspur in August 2006, had been expected to leave United next summer after being handed just a 12-month deal by Mourinho following his appointment as manager at the end of May.
Mourinho's reluctance to use the 35-year-old in his starting XI earlier this season had hinted at the possibility of a United exit in January.
But after starting the veteran in the last two Premier League games against Swansea City and Arsenal, Mourinho has now revealed that he is keen for Carrick to remain at the club for one more year.
"Michael is 35 years old," Mourinho told reporters. "It is very sad to know that time flies for every one of us. He is such a fantastic player and it is a pity, I always loved him, but instead of being his manager when he was 25 I am his manager when he is 35.
"We have a good understanding. We know when he can play. We know when he is ready and when he needs a rest. I am still having Michael Carrick and probably for one more season."
Since adding Carrick's experience and composure to the team, Mourinho has seen £89m world-record signing Paul Pogba begin to produce the form that persuaded United to spend big on the France international in the summer.
And Mourinho believes that, with Ander Herrera also impressing, United are now developing a midfield capable of thriving in the Premier League.
"The midfield is playing very well," Mourinho said. "Pogba, Carrick and Herrera, they are playing very well. Pogba is adapting much better in relationship to the intensity of the competition and he is much more confident.
"Obviously he plays with some guidelines over his position, but at the same time with some freedom to occupy some attacking areas where he feels and thinks he can be important. He is comfortable on the pitch. That is the best way of saying it."
Despite dropping points in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal on Saturday -- for the third successive Premier League game at Old Trafford -- and not having won at home in the league since defeating Leicester City on Sept. 24, Mourinho insists his team are showing positive signs.
"We had one transfer window and four months of work," he said. "We have lots of young players and older players, so we need a lot of work to do.
"But if you see the games against Burnley, Stoke and Arsenal, if you have six more points which we totally deserved, see where we would be. If we keep performing the way we are doing, we will be OK.
"I want someone to come here and play better than us and beat us. Then you can go home and say these guys were better than us. But on Saturday, I go home and my feeling is that I have lost."