How long have Norwich City’s players got left on their contracts?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Contract talks will be high on Norwich City's summer priorities, as almost three-quarters of their first-team squad approach the final year of their stays.
There are already signals the Canaries are making moves to secure their playing staff following Premier League relegation, with Monday's re-signing of defender Steven Whittaker keeping him at Carrow Road until next summer at least.
And negotiations are ongoing to keep Gary O'Neil at the club for next season. The midfielder is the only senior professional at City that could become a free agent this summer.
However, half a dozen young professionals will see their initial Norwich deals expire after June 30, while 25 out of 44 members of Alex Neil's squad may face a similar situation in 12 months' time.
Several options for extending various deals mean City can remain calm over the futures of some players involved – but the need for future planning won't be lost on the Canaries hierarchy this summer.
The coming summer was always going to be a big one for Norwich City – but the current contract situation facing the Canaries will be somewhere near the top of their most pressing issues to resolve.
Following the signing of Steven Whittaker for one more season, the negotiations regarding players out of contract come July can now revolve around Gary O'Neil and then a handful of young professionals with seven senior appearances between them – six of which are owned by Jamar Loza.
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But with clubs generally resistant to players entering the last year of their deals, City have 25 squad members that could be out of contract come the end of next season. Add to that those reaching the end of their deals this summer, and that's 32 professionals out of 44 with no more than a season definitely remaining on their stay.
Based on the City contract details in the public domain, the prospect of such an overhaul would represent major changes for the football club.
But of course, things are never so straight forward. Of those 32 players due out of contract before July 1, 2017, eight have options for another year that were made public – that could be at the player's discretion, the club's or indeed both parties.
Sometimes it's automatic. Wes Hoolahan, Michael Turner and Alex Tettey were all scheduled to be out of contract this summer when they signed their previous two-year deals – but promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt triggered the addition of one more year, meaning the trio have been contracted to July 2017 since Wembley success.
To add to the fun, just because there was no option disclosed by the club when a player either signed or re-signed, it doesn't mean there isn't an agreement down on paper that has – for competitive reasons or otherwise – been left hidden away.
And then there are the dozen players on lengthy contracts – a mechanism that may serve only to ensure the Canaries get more money if someone really doesn't fancy a 46-game war in the Championship.
At that point, manager Alex Neil has a balancing act to perform – who he can keep, who is worth selling at the right price and then the best way of filling any gaps, from either what he's got or what he wants to bring in.
However it happens, be it new deals or new players, there is plenty of work to be done.