In the midst of the escalating Coronavirus crisis, the Premier League and the wider football world have a myriad of problems to tackle and issues to resolve.
Plans and strategies will have to be devised and re-devised by governing bodies in a constantly shifting landscape, as fixture and scheduling problems continue to mount.
Alongside the need to address the calendar priority problem, the Premier League must also find a solution to an impending player contract issue that will likely see a high number of deals expire in late June and early July before the 2019/20 season is compete.
While a protective measure to stop players leaving before the campaign finishes will likely be drawn-up, nothing official has been implemented as of yet, leaving clubs facing the prospect of losing key personnel at a crucial juncture of the season.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the clubs that could be most affected by the current contract confusion.
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Out of contract players: Willian, Pedro, Olivier Giroud
While Frank Lampard has been keen to build his Chelsea team around a framework of youthful, energetic up and comers, the Blues boss will be doing everything in his power to avoid losing a trio of his squad’s most experienced attackers in the summer before the final ball of the campaign is kicked.
Brazilian winger Willian, Spanish forward Pedro and French targetman Olivier Giroud will all be out of contract in late June, leaving them free to walk away from Stamford Bridge as things stand.
Should Chelsea lose any or all of their senior pros’ services, their pursuit of a top four Premier League finish could be dealt a hefty blow.
Out of contract players: Ryan Fraser, Jordon Ibe, Simon Francis, Andrew Surman, Charlie Daniels
While it’s safe to say that some of the players on Bournemouth’s list of out of contract squad members would be missed more than most, there is still a worryingly high number of employees with a June expiration date on their deals.
Ryan Fraser has endured a stop start season with the Cherries, though the diminutive winger isn’t expected to be short of suitors when he leaves the south coast.
Current club captain Simon Francis is unlikely to jump ship with Bournemouth embroiled in a relegation battle, while long term injury absentee Daniels will probably be solely focussed on returning to full fitness before worrying about an extension to his contract.
However, Eddie Howe has been around the block long enough to know that nothing in football is certain.
Read more about the Premier League’s injured players set to return before the end of the season here.
Out of contract players: Adrian Mariappa, Ben Foster, Jose Holebas, Heurelho Gomes, Daniel Bachmann
The prospect of losing experienced defensive duo Adrian Mariappa and Jose Holebas with league football still to play is a worrying one for Watford ahead of their final charge to the drop this term, though it’s behind the Hornets’ rearguard where the most intriguing contractual problems lie.
First choice keeper Ben Foster’s contract at Vicarage Road is due to run out on June 30th, which ordinarily might be a problem that could be patched, however, Watford’s back-up goalie Heurelho Gomes and third choice stopper Daniel Bachmann will see their deals expire on the same day.
Losing all three senior keepers in one swoop would present Nigel Pearson with a unique problem to contend with at a time in the season when every goal conceded has the potential to be pivotal.
Time to chuck Troy Deeney between the sticks?
Out of contract players: Jan Vertonghen, Japhet Tanganga
Somewhat ironically, Tottenham have been leaking goals left, right and centre since the club appointed the notoriously defence-minded Jose Mourinho as their new manager in late November last year.
In 25 matches under the Portuguese coach’s instruction, Spurs managed to keep a total of just three clean sheets, conceding two or more goals in 11 separate fixtures in all competitions along the way.
Spurs’ performances at the back are unlikely to improve should they lose out of contract defensive duo Jan Vertonghen and Japhet Tanganga.
The lack of movement in negotiations suggests that veteran Belgian Vertonghen will almost certainly leave Tottenham after eight years with the club, though the absence of news about Tanganga’s future might be greater cause for concern.
An improved deal has been muted for the 20-year old enjoying a break out season in North London, though nothing concrete has been announced as yet. Spurs do have the option to trigger a one year extension to his current contract however.
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