Why Arsenal Cannot Force Out-of-contract Players to Stay if Season Resumes

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Arsenal will not be able to force players whose contracts run out at the end of June to stay at the club past the end of month, even if the current season has not concluded, claims a leading PFA lawyer.

Thankfully, not that many players are out of contract with Arsenal in the summer and, while the club have been trying to get Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to sign a new one, that was always going to depend on where Arsenal finished in the Premier League and if they return to the Champions League. Still, at least we know we have him for another year at least. Hopefully. Maybe. Depending on how they sort out this pandemic-induced mess.

With the Premier League suspended until at least 30 April and unlikely to be finished before contracts expire at the end of June, Arsenal will not be able to force Dani Ceballos to stay beyond the end of his loan deal.

Similarly, Pablo Mari is also only on loan, although there is believed to be an obligation to buy in there so that’s unlikely to be an issue, not that the club have been able to use the latter half of the season to see if he fits, which was no doubt the plan to begin with.

According to the PFA’s new lawyer Nick De Marcom, QC, “Legally, players cannot be forced (due to English employment law) to continue to play for the club. Nobody can force them; FIFA, the FA, the club or anybody.”

One option being touted is short-term contracts until the 19/20 season is concluded but that could well involve another fee to the loan clubs.

Given how badly the UK government has handled this entire crisis, the season will not conclude before the end of June and I would be very surprised if they are able to conclude it at all without blending it into 20/21.

Apart from loan deals, the only other Arsenal player out of contract at the end of June is Matt Macey.

Six players, however, will be out of contract next summer which seems odd given Raul Sanllehi’s insistence that player’s would not be allowed to get into the final year of their deals.

Arsenal players out of contract June 2021:

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Sokratis

Ozil

Mustafi

Luiz

Saka

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