Newcastle United’s hierarchy face a £50million dilemma this close season – with a whole first team XI out of contract in less than a year.
The Magpies have a first team squad of 28 players – and 13 of them are into the final year of their deals at Newcastle.
It provides a unique chance for an overhaul of the squad – for whoever is in charge of the club by then – but also poses a series of decisions that will need to be made in the coming weeks on first team players.
For some, United will be happy to shift them off the wage bill. A long-term deal for Henri Saivet was a huge mistake – and he will depart having played five times in six years.
Similarly Achraf Lazaar’s long-term deal in the Championship season has cost Newcastle dear.
But for 11 others, the Magpies must make the call on whether to cash in, offer new terms or risk losing £50million worth of talent for nothing in a year.
Newcastle have already shown signs of their approach with short-term deals for Javier Manquillo and Andy Carroll, who triggered another year on his deal and is one of the players whose deal ends in 2021.
The following players are out of contract in 2021. Valuations are from Transfermarkt.
- Ciaran Clark £4.3million
- Fabian Schar £11.7million
- Dwight Gayle £8.55million
- Isaac Hayden £7.2million
- Federico Fernandez £4.95million
- DeAndre Yedlin £5.85million
- Christian Atsu £4.3million
- Karl Darlow £2.16million
- Jacob Murphy £3.15million
Also out of contract
- Andy Carroll
- Dan Barlaser
- Achraf Lazaar
- Henri Saivet
But for first team regulars Isaac Hayden, Dwight Gayle and Fabian Schar, Newcastle will give them a chance to prove their worth this season before re-initiating contract talks.
Those three represent nearly £25million in potential transfer fees but Steve Bruce has signalled that he wants to keep Gayle, who was set for a £15million move to West Brom this time last year. Bournemouth, West Brom and Watford are all keen but with United’s budget seemingly crunched by coronavirus, Bruce is rolling the dice on Gayle, who ended the season with four goals.
Managing director Lee Charnley might have assumed it would be someone else’s call by now, and the consortium who wanted to buy Newcastle had carried out a detailed assessment of the potential pitfalls and opportunities raised by the mass 2021 contract dilemma.
But instead it will fall to United’s current hierarchy, who – in the face of uncertainty – acted to wrap up commercial deals with Fun88 and Puma and also contracts for Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Ritchie, Manquillo and Carroll while the takeover was stuck in the owners and directors tests.