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Ranking the Contracts Expiring in 2018

In modern day football contracts rarely expire. Clubs either sell a player before the contract ends or they are re-signed. Sometimes if left too late, a club risks a player holding out until the end of their contract and then having the ability to re-sign or move anywhere on a free transfer. As the 2017-18 season gets into full swing Arsenal are well into this minefield. A pretty exit across the board seems unlikely. Of course, everyone is familiar with the top name on the list, but Arsenal actually has eight contracts set to expire on June 30th, 2018. Here is a ranking of the importance of Arsenal coming to terms with each contract – whether than be a new contract or transferring them out. Note: Market values were taken from and are in Euros.1) Alexis SanchezPosition: Striker / Left WingerAge: 28Market Value: 65,000,000 €Analysis: Always the top man on this list and most any Arsenal list. With under a week left in the window Arsenal fans are about to find out if they have his services for a least a few more months. The club needs Alexis if they are to have a legitimate shot at the EPL crown. But many expected him to leave in the summer once Champions League football was gone from the Emirates. If he has to leave, please let it be somewhere like PSG or Bayern, and not help a league rival win the title. Weekly wages and whatever signings need to be made to single the club’s intent moving forward should be dealt with quickly if either of those is what is hold Sanchez back. Outlook: From Arsenal’s point of view 100%. Alexis’ 30% at best. Continue to hold out hope, but prepare for the worst. 2) Alex Oxlade-ChamberlainPosition: Right Midfielder / Wing-backAge: 24Market Value: 22,000,000 €Analysis: Currently I see Ox as more valuable moving forward than Ozil. He is four years younger and has the ability to play as a right wing back, right winger or central midfielder. The papers indicate Chelsea want to sign him, and while Arsenal has seen numerous players break the fans heart by signing with rivals, Alex doesn’t seem to fit that mold. He is coming up on 200 appearances for Arsenal and should see his role in the team grow in the years ahead. Rarely does the Ox go missing in a game and his speed is too much for the club to simply let walk away. Outlook: 70%. As soon as the Sanchez situation is resolved, Wenger’s top priority should be re-signing The Ox. 3) Mesut OzilPosition: Attacking MidfielderAge: 28Market Value: 50,000,000 €Analysis: Immensely talented with the ability to disappear and frustrate Arsenal fans. Now in his 5th season with Arsenal, he has been critical in maintaining the team’s level but hasn’t been able to hit his peak level consistently to push them on to a title. If a team were to offer 50+ million Euros, the club might actually take it at this point. All signs indicate that Ozil enjoys living in London and isn’t looking to leave the club. Outlook: 80%. A 2 or 3-year extension signed by the middle of the year, unless he pushes for a move or someone looks to secure him in January before hitting an open market. 4) Santi CarzolaPosition: Central MidfielderAge: 32Market Value: 12,000,000Analysis: Once the maestro of the Arsenal midfield, injuries and setbacks have kept him out for the majority of the last two years. His inclusion for this season remains in doubt, as well as some reports going as far as saying he may never make it back to the pitch at all. He has a one year option still on his contract and the team would have a hard time selling him while his future remains in doubt. Outlook: 50%. Arsenal extend his contract one more year, only to see him get fit, play with the U23s and sold next summer. 5) Jack WilsherePosition: Central MidfielderAge: 25Market Value: 18,000,000 €Analysis: Over 100 appearances and a long list of frustrating injuries, Wilshere is still only 25 years old. The issue for Jack is can he stay fit enough and play smart enough to be an option for the team and push out the likes of Ramsey, Elneny, Xhaka, etc.? At this point, that seems unlikely, but currently, his health outlook appears better than Santi’s (which is saying something in itself) and the club will always have multiple competitions which calls for carrying 5 defensive midfield players. Outlook: 50%. If Jack wants to stay, given Wenger has another year (at least) after this one, he will extend another two-year deal to him. 6) Joel CampbellPosition: Right WingerAge: 25Market Value: 6,000,000 €Analysis: Campbell has either been on loan, injured or both for the better part of the last six years. While he had a solid run in the 2015-16 campaign, it is hard to see the club moving forward with him as the arms race continues in the EPL. Unless he and Wenger are content with him being a depth player used in Cups, Europa and to fill in for injuries, a January transfer should be made. Outlook: 30%. He has the travel experience to know where he wants to be, or not to be, but I believe a move to MLS would be an ideal fit for Campbell. Closer to home, a starting role, and higher pay if he lands with the right club in a designated player position. 7) Kieran GibbsPosition: Left-backAge: 27Market Value: 10,000,000 €Analysis: When Gael Clichy left Arsenal, Gibbs took over the left back role and became a fixture in the squad for the next three seasons, appearing over 100 times between the 12/13 to 14/15 seasons. However, he then began splitting his time with Monreal. He doesn’t feature as well in the new three-back system. If Wenger elects to stay with that system moving forward targeting a true left-wing-back in the next window to allow Ox and Bellerin to stay on the left may signal the end of Gibbs’ time at the Emirates. Outlook: 30%. Unless injuries occur and Gibbs shines in the new formation, the club may elect to move on and reinvest that cash. 8) Matt MaceyPosition: GoalkeeperAge: 22Market Value: 500,000 €Analysis: At only 22 and standing a staggering 6 feet 6 inches the Academy product still has plenty of potential ahead of him. Out on loan at Luton Town last season, he made 13 appearances, and may yet go back on loan for the current campaign. At a low cost, Arsenal has no need to move what could one day be a keeper of first team caliber talent. Outlook: 80%. A new contract is likely.