Considering Mike Ashley’s long-standing love for making a profit, it’s pretty alarming how many first team players worth a fair few million that are set to leave on a free next summer if nothing changes.
Releasing the likes of Yedlin, Lazaar, Saivet, Carroll and Atsu next summer may be a relief given how much they pick up per week to barely play, however the same could not be said about the following players whose contracts are set to expire in 2021:
- Florian Lejeune
- Ciaran Clark
- Jacob Murphy
- Dwight Gayle
- Fabian Schar
Federico Fernandez is another, however we thankfully have an option to extend his deal by one more year – and surely will based on his rock solid displays throughout 2020.
Starting with Lejeune, he’s one of La Liga’s top performing centre-backs at present after thriving during a loan spell at Alaves.
Unless Steve Bruce guarantees him a second chance at Newcastle and he signs a new deal next summer, it seems highly likely that he seals a permanent return to Spain – and could prove to be an absolute bargain on a free.
Fellow centre-back Ciaran Clark seems very much in the manager’s plans, but he too is entering the final six months of his contract.
He’s had injury issues, but he’s often an unsung hero when he plays and barely puts a foot wrong, being another player plenty bottom half Premier League sides would happily snap up for nothing.
Fabian Schar’s future seems to be elsewhere – a full international like him won’t settle for a bench role much longer – yet this is a player who was said to be valued at around £15-£20m following his brilliant form under Rafa Benitez.
If motivated, the Swiss star can be a quality ball-playing defender, with he too being someone we’d be careless to lose on a free – even if his exit has been on the cards for some time.
Then to Dwight Gayle and Jacob Murphy. Both are very much squad players, yet they are also a duo who cost us £10m a pop.
I’m sure plenty top Championship clubs would pay a decent chunk of that to have them, making any potential move for nothing another opportunity missed.
I’m sure some of the above will sign new deals to protect their value as much as anything, however we’ve given ourselves a lot of work to do in 2021!