Often Partisan

Contract Expiry

With Blues entering the last ten games of the season thought soon will have to be given to what is going to happen to players who are out of contract at the end of the season. Without immediate investment the financial outlook for the club still remains bleak and some tough decisions will have to be made quickly to ensure that Blues remain on an even keel.

Twenty-six players are out of contract at the end of the season. Seven of those are loan players – Jordon Ibe, Federico Macheda, Scott Allan, Shane Ferguson, Albert Rusnak, Emyr Huws and Tyler Blackett and a further two – Aaron Martin and Brian Howard are on short-term deals. Of the remaining seventeen, ten have confirmed options – Paul Robinson, Peter Lovenkrands, Olly Lee, Akwasi Asante, Nick Townsend, James Fry, Charlee Adams, Ryan Higgins, Reece Hales and Amari’i Bell – although it’s unclear how many of those options are in the club’s favour. The remaining seven without confirmed options on their contract are Chris Burke, Will Packwood, Koby Arthur, Hayden Mullins,  Darren Ambrose, Wade Elliott and Nikola Zigic.

Of the first team squad, that leaves Darren Randolph, Neal Eardley, Lee Novak, Colin Doyle, Callum Reilly, Mitch Hancox, Andrew Shinnie, Jonathan Spector, Tom Adeyemi, Matt Green, Reece Brown, Paul Caddis, Demarai Gray and Liam Truslove as having contracts currently for the new season.

Without getting into who is going to be kept and who isn’t of the present squad it’s easy to see where Blues are going to be light on players – on the flanks and up front. Although one would think that Blues will save a fair bit on wages with the departures of Zigic, Burke and Lovenkrands unless there is a significant investment in the next few months the purported wage cap of £5,000 will no doubt remain in place which will no doubt make it hard for Blues to bring in Championship-quality players – assuming of course we are still in the Championship.

As much as I keep going on about this it is concerning for the medium term future of the club; one would think that without significant investment in the team in the next few months if we are not relegated this season we will be massively up against it next year. At the start of the season it was revealed that Zigic apart Blues had the second lowest wage bill in the Championship; the way things are going it will be the lowest next season and once again Blues will be reliant on the benevolence of higher placed clubs loaning players to ensure the squad can remain competitive.

There are positives though; of the fourteen remaining players the two oldest (Colin Doyle and Jonathan Spector) are only 28 – the rest are 26 or under which means that theoretically they have their best years in front of them. It might be that Blues have a raw squad but as Tom Adeyemi has shown this year they are in a position where they can prove themselves and become valuable assets to the club – which in the absence of investment will help to keep the club self-funding.

I think some tough decisions will have to be made in the next few months – no doubt there will be a lot of debate among fans on the forums as to who should be offered new deals and who shouldn’t. Since Blues were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2010/11 season forty players have either retired, been released or sold and there have been twenty-eight loan moves; the end of this season is likely to see more flux around the squad.

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