The Premier League is shut down until April 4th due to the coronavirus, and we’re sure Aston Villa are doing everything they can to protect players and staff. However, given the spread of the virus in the UK, it’s quite possible that the league will be suspended for much longer than the anticipated three more weeks.
Many Villa fans hope the league will simply be canceled; the best case scenario would be following Germany’s lead in which no title will be awarded and no teams would be relegated. Hooray! Villa stay in the Premier League and their season is saved! Someone write a movie about this, ASAP!
But the Premier League likes winners and losers; more than that, the league — and its clubs, of course — like money. And if there’s an option to play these last 10 remaining games well into the summer, when the pandemic has passed, it seems likely that choice will be made.
Yet as the Birmingham Mail points out, clubs could be financially affected in other ways should the resumption of the league happen later rather than sooner. Assuming the suspension is extended just a few weeks, and games resume at the beginning of May, the Premier League will be entering into dangerous territory: contracts and loans are set to end June 30.
I’m not an expert in UK or European law, but I do hold a JD and know how a contract functions: unless there is a clause inserted about emergencies or unforeseeable circumstances requiring a player to stay until a season is over, should that season extend past June 30, there would be nothing holding the player to the club. And it’s highly unlikely clubs have been able to negotiate with other clubs or with players’ agents to be able to add such clauses. So...they’ll go.
Aston Villa would lose Danny Drinkwater, on loan from Chelsea . . . but it’s likely few would miss him all that much. Pepe Reina would be sent back to Milan (assuming by that time Italy has their coronavirus outbreak under control, if it’s not that’s just too much to go into right now). It’s possible Tom Heaton would be back by that time, but given remarks he’s made about the summer, it’s not all that likely. Villa could continue with Ørjan Nyland in goal without many problems, but it’d be nice to have a backup keeper around.
Then Villa have Borja, who already came in on a free transfer in the winter, but seeing that he’s made just one appearance and, at 27, should really be at his peak, the club would be unlikely to make much selling him off. Better to just let his contract run out than to take time working on an extension.
Finally, we come to Keinan Davis. The 22-year-old has made few appearances for the first team, including coming on in the awful defeat to Leicester in the last round. Many Villa fans argue that Dean Smith should give him a chance to start, however, sensing he has great potential. Given that he’s still young, and Villa certainly need more talented forwards, it feels as though this is the one contract they should focus on extending — just in case.
What do you think?