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Which Arsenal players’ contracts may be an issue if the Premier League is extended?

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If the league returns but goes into July, how might the Gunners handle expiring contracts?

Arsenal FC v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

At this point it’s hard to visualize when the Premier League, or any sport for that matter, returns. Just getting back to some semblance of normal life and transit seems a ways away. For now leagues, clubs and the general public leave the hard work and decisions up to the health professionals and government health officials. But what if the Premier League does finish later this summer?

One of the scenarios that has been tossed around is to resume and complete the 2019-20 season, regardless of when that restart begins. The Premier League has stated that at this point they plan to complete the current season, even if that means delaying or impacting the 2020-21 season.

So if Arsenal had to finish this season, but it went into the fall, are there players whose contracts will expire during that duration? Like most clubs player contracts typically end on June 30th of a given year. If Arsenal were to continue playing past that point this year four players would require decisions.

Dani Ceballos

  • Contract end date: 6/30 (Loan)
  • Position: CM
  • Age: 23
  • Position depth: Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Mattéo Guendouzi, Joe Willock, & Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
  • Decision: The club doesn’t need him to finish the season, in terms of depth. He has had an up and down year, and this break only makes matters more uncertain. His future at Arsenal likely comes down to if Mikel Arteta thinks he can be one of his 2 or 3 main midfielders going forward and if the club can get him at a suitable fee from Real Madrid (£20-30m).

Matt Macey

  • Contract end date: 6/30
  • Position: GK
  • Age: 25
  • Position depth: Bernd Leno & Emiliano Martinez
  • Decision: Extended. Macey has been the primary keeper for the U23 side and continues to be a suitable third option for the club if needed at the senior level. Probably needs a loan to a Championship or League One club next season to make a decision on his future at the club or if it’s time to move on.

Pablo Mari

  • Contract end date: 6/30 (Loan)
  • Position: CB
  • Age: 26
  • Position depth: David Luiz, Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers & Konstantinos Mavropanos.
  • Decision: Signed to a permanent deal. Edu didn’t bring Mari over from Brazil for just a short term loan. The club expects to sign him to a full contract this summer and move on one of the centerbacks listed above.

Cedric Soares

  • Contract end date: 5/30 (Loan) 6/30 (for Southampton)
  • Position: RB
  • Age: 28
  • Position depth: Hector Bellerin & Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
  • Decision: Signed to a permanent deal. Arsenal made this loan for just half a season knowing he was hurt and would miss some time. Why make that deal if it wasn’t part of a plan to sign him to a full contract in the summer? Otherwise let Maitland-Niles remain the backup right back and make a bigger decision in the summer. Arsenal can likely get Soares for £6-10 million and his Premier League experience will suffice that position on the pitch so Arteta and the board can focus elsewhere.

Overall Arsenal are in a favorable position with their current squad. Even if all four of these players weren’t extended, the club has plenty of options to see out the current campaign. Now to just wait and see when the Premier League actually returns and what that scenario looks like.