Premier League players whose contracts expire on June 30 can walk away from their clubs even if the 2019/20 season has not resumed by then, a leading UK sports lawyer has warned.
Nick De Marco QC told Sky Sports News last week that nobody – including clubs, the FA, UEFA, and FIFA – can force players to stay because of UK employment law, and the issue has ramped up concerns that the domestic seasons will have to be abandoned.
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The FIFA coronavirus working group has recommended contracts be extended until after the current campaign is concluded, but this will have to be done case-by-case, and the issue will be high on the agenda at Friday’s Premier League meeting.
So who are the 57 Premier League players that could be faced with this dilemma? Sky Sports News has built this conclusive list and has attempted to find out what the future may hold for each player…
Borja Baston: Signed in January on a short-term deal as striker cover, following injury to Wesley, but has not yet started for Dean Smith. With Wesley to come back, Mbwana Samatta settling in, and Keinan Davis just breaking through, Baston’s long-term Villa prospects look bleak.
Keinan Davis: The 22-year-old has made eight appearances and may still have a future at Villa Park despite his current deal coming to an end. He may need to go out on loan to develop further, with Wesley and Samatta to beat for a place.
Ryan Fraser: The Scotland international was heavily linked with Arsenal last summer but stayed on the south coast and has made 28 appearances this season. However, it remains to be seen whether he has a future at the club.
Jordon Ibe: The £16m signing from Liverpool in 2016 has made only four appearances this season and is expected to move on to pastures new when his deal expires.
Charlie Daniels: The left-back has made only two appearances this season after falling behind Diego Rico in the pecking order. Eddie Howe also has Lloyd Kelly to return from injury and push for a place next season, so Daniels’ long stint at the Cherries looks to be at an end.
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Andrew Surman: The 33-year-old is also one of the group left over from Bournemouth’s promotion season in 2015 and is expected to move on after being a stalwart servant to the club for six years.
Simon Francis: The 35-year-old is another who took the team up in 2015 but is set to move on to allow younger players to come to the fore.
Artur Boruc: Surprisingly handed another year-long deal last summer but has not played a game this season and is also set to leave on a free transfer.
Brad Smith: The 26-year-old left-back returns from a loan at Cardiff at the same time as his Bournemouth deal expires and is expected to be available on a free transfer.
Beram Kayal: The 31-year-old has been on loan at Championship side Charlton this season and is likely to leave Brighton for good when his contract ends this summer.
Ezequiel Schelotto: The 30-year-old Italian has made only seven Premier League appearances this season since returning from a loan at Chievo in the first half of 2019. Difficult to see him forcing his way back into Graham Potter’s plans.
Aaron Lennon: The 33-year-old former England, Tottenham and Everton winger has made 16 Premier League appearances this season but no talks have yet taken place about a new deal. That could change, though, once the Clarets know the outcome of the current season.
Jeff Hendrick: Talks took place earlier in the season with regards to a new contract for Hendrick but they could not find an agreement, so it is more likely he will be available to others come July.
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Joe Hart: Is behind Nick Pope in the pecking order at Burnley, and is one of four goalkeepers along with the younger new signing from Leeds – Bailey Peacock-Farrell – and Adam Legzdins. Hart is likely to move on unless another club – like Chelsea – comes in with a big offer for Pope.
Phil Bardsley: The right-back, signed from Stoke in 2017, is now 34 but made 17 appearances in the Premier League before the season was postponed. He is behind Matt Lowton in Sean Dyche’s plans, however.
Adam Legzdins: Has been fourth-choice goalkeeper at the club and is set to be available on a free transfer.
Pedro: The 32-year-old has been superb throughout his five years at Stamford Bridge but is expected to move on to allow Frank Lampard to bring younger players to the fore.
Willian: The Brazil star has said publicly there had been talks over a new deal but the two sides were unable to agree and his long stint at the West London club looks to be at an end. Reports claim other Premier League clubs are interested so he may remain in the country.
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Olivier Giroud: The France striker would have left Chelsea for Tottenham, perhaps on loan, in January had the Blues signed Dries Mertens from Napoli, but instead he remained, and since then reports have emerged that he is in talks over a new deal at Stamford Bridge.
Willy Caballero: Was given a new one-year deal last year but, at 38, has said he understands his time is running out and has made noises about wanting a return to Spain.
Stephen Henderson: The Irishman is behind Vincent Guaita and Wayne Hennessey in the pecking order, so it would be surprising if he remained at Selhurst Park beyond this summer.
Oumar Niasse: Has not been able to establish himself in the plans of a succession of managers at Goodison. He could have left last summer and is finally expected to do so this time.
Leighton Baines: The experienced left-back is the only one out of the four who could yet remain at the club, after some initial discussions over a new deal.
Cuco Martina: Signed as back-up to Seamus Coleman by former boss Ronald Koeman. He has not made a first-team appearance this season is therefore expected to leave this summer.
Maarten Stekelenburg: Another signed by Koeman and expected to end his time at Goodison.
Nampalys Mendy: Has fallen behind Wilfried Ndidi and Hamza Choudhury in the pecking order and Brendan Rodgers has made clear he only plays with one defensive midfield player, so his future may lie elsewhere.
Christian Fuchs: Some initial discussions had been held over whether to renew his contract but those have been put on hold because of the coronavirus crisis.
Wes Morgan: Rodgers has also confirmed that Morgan has been in discussions over a new deal but, again, the coronavirus issue has put them onto the backburner.
Eldin Jakupovic: The 35-year-old goalkeeper is behind Kasper Schmeichel and Danny Ward in the pecking order and it is difficult to see what future he has at the King Power.
Adam Lallana: The 31-year-old has been unable to break into Jurgen Klopp’s plans since recovering from a string of injuries, and the manager has previously admitted he does not know what the future holds for the England forward. Reportedly attracting interest from the MLS and China.
Nathaniel Clyne: The 29-year-old has not really been in Klopp’s plans for a long time. He spent last season on loan at Bournemouth and would have been likely to be moved out again last summer, had it not been for serious injury.
Andy Lonergan: Signed as a training partner to new goalkeeper Alisson last summer and then taken on on a one-year deal following injury to Adrian.
David Silva: Has already confirmed he will leave the current champions after 10 years and 14 trophies, including four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, and five League Cups. He will forever be known as one of the club’s best-ever players. Where the 34-year-old will go next, though, remains unknown.
Claudio Bravo: Pep Guardiola thinks highly of the Chilean and relies on him to do a job when first-choice Ederson is injured but, at 37 years old, it remains to be seen whether he will be given another season in this role at City.
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Javier Manquillo: The former Liverpool left-back – signed by Rafa Benitez – has made 13 appearances under Steve Bruce this season but it remains to be seen whether he wants to keep the Spaniard.
Matty Longstaff: Talks had taken place over a new deal for the midfielder but both he and his brother are changing agents and discussions such as this are on hold while takeover talks continue.
Andy Carroll: The striker and Newcastle youth product has held talks over new deal. But, like the others, if the ongoing takeover goes through, plans to offer the 31-year-old an extension could change.
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Jack Colback: The former Sunderland midfielder was meant to go out on loan in January but suffered a knee injury and he is set to be available on a free when his contract expires.
Rob Elliot: Has not played all season for the Magpies and must be considering his future if he is offered first-team football elsewhere.
Jamie Sterry: The 24-year-old right-back has not made a first-team appearance this season apart from in the EFL Cup and looks set to leave St James’ Park on a free.
Ricky Holmes: The 32-year-old remains on the books at Bramall Lane despite not featuring at all this season, and he is expected to leave when his contract expires.
Leon Clarke: The influential striker during United’s promotion season has found first-team games limited in the Premier League. He has been available on the transfer market for the past two windows and is therefore expected to leave on a free when his deal expires.
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John Lundstram: The 26-year-old still has the option of a further year that the club can take up at any point, and they are in talks with the midfielder about agreeing a longer contract too.
Jack Rodwell: Signed a short-term deal until the end of the season but has been unable to force his way into Chris Wilder’s plans, so is unlikely to be offered another year.
Phil Jagielka: The former England international arrived on a year-long deal last summer to bring Premier League experience to the dressing room. Although he has not played much, he is seen as a key figure behind the scenes and could continue with the club in one role or another.
Shane Long: The 33-year-old started a run of games alongside Danny Ings before the season was suspended, taking his appearances to 19, but he scored just twice. It remains to be seen whether Saints want to offer him a new deal but local reports earlier this year claimed some talks had been had.
Jan Vertonghen: Initial discussions have been held over a new deal and were described as positive, but the club are yet to make the 33-year-old an offer. He has interest from Napoli and Inter Milan, among others, in taking him on a free transfer.
Michel Vorm: The 36-year-old goalkeeper was drafted out of retirement to fill a gap when Hugo Lloris was injured and is expected to return to retirement when his deal expires.
Adrian Mariappa: The 33-year-old has made 15 Premier League appearances this term and the club are expected to sit down with him and discuss his future, along with the other three players out of contract.
Ben Foster: The 37-year-old is out of contract despite being the club’s first-choice keeper and making 29 Premier League starts this season. Like the others whose deals are expiring, the club are expected to sit down with him and discuss his future soon.
Heurelho Gomes: The 39-year-old was expected to retire last summer but signed another one-year deal and has made three appearances. It remains to be seen whether he wishes to retire this time around but the club are expected to sit down with him and discuss his future.
Jose Holebas: The 35-year-old has played 12 times in the Premier League this season and the Hornets are also expected to sit down with him and discuss his future.
Carlos Sanchez: A decision still needs to be made over the 34-year-old Colombian’s future, having made just six appearances this season under Manuel Pellegrini and then David Moyes.
Pablo Zabaleta: The Premier League veteran has already said he will leave at the end of the season, having recently moved beyond 300 games in England. He will be remembered fondly by more than just Manchester City and Hammers fans.
John Ruddy: The 33-year-old has not made a Premier League appearance this season, but has done in the FA and League Cups. The club are considering taking an option to extend his contract until 2021.
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