The three-month COVID-19 shutdown of the Premier League created a host of issues that the league and the players had to address for Project Restart. One of those issues was what to do about contracts and loans that expire on June 30th. Players and clubs have until June 23rd to come to an agreement, whether that be a short-term contract/loan extension through the end of the season or a new contract.
June 23rd is tomorrow. Arsenal have four players on the current roster whose fates are still undecided — David Luiz, Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares, and Dani Ceballos.
- David Luiz: Arsenal have a club option to extend his stay at the Emirates for an additional season on his current contract, but reports are that the club would prefer a new one-year deal at lower weekly wages. Luiz’s camp wants a new, two-year contract at basically the same wages. Mikel Arteta has said he would like Luiz to stay. My guess is that Luiz is using tomorrow’s deadline and Arsenal’s centerback shortage as leverage to secure a better deal, which he is more than entitled to do.
- Pablo Mari: he would have needed an agreement to extend his loan move from Flamengo, but the season-ending ankle injury picked up against Manchester City rendered that moot. According to reports out of Brazil, Arsenal will or have already exercised their option to buy. The U.K.-based, usual Arsenal sources have yet to confirm those reports.
- Cedric Soares: the Southampton man is in a strange situation. He’s on-loan through the end of June but then he’s out of contract. He’s also out with a facial injury for approximately two more weeks. If Arsenal want his services through the end of the season, he’d have to agree to an extension with Southampton and then the two clubs could extend the loan deal. The extra paper transactions are just that; I don’t think they will be a stumbling block should the parties want to extend. Arsenal have paid almost £5M in fees (club + agent) for Soares, who has yet to play a match in North London.
- Dani Ceballos: he’s expected to extend his loan move at the Emirates through the end of the season but reportedly wants to return to Spain for next season, either to play for Real Madrid (extremely unlikey) or be transferred to another Spanish side (Valencia is a likely destination).
Arsenal also have several players out on loan whose deals need extending.
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan has made it clear that he would like to remain at Roma and secure a permanent move to the Italian club, but no loan extension has been announced.
- No reported extension for Mohamed Elneny at Besiktas yet.
- Emile Smith Rowe is expected to extend his loan at Huddersfield.
- Keeper Dejan Iliev is expected to remain on loan at Polish side Jagiellonia Białystok.
- Jordi Osei-Tutu (VfL Bochum) and Dinos Mavropanos (FC Nurnberg) do not need loan extensions; the Bundesliga 2 season ends on the 28th before their loans expire.
- Tyreece John-Jules was on-loan with League One side Lincoln City, but the…