Along with everything else linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, football is on hold. There’s so much uncertainty about as to what will happen when and if football, in general, kicks back into life again. One uncertainty was around the issue of expiring contracts, with June 30 the traditional date when deals would end. FIFA have ruled on that yesterday – saying contract end dates will be extended.
That is as may be, that contracts will ‘auto-extend to meet the end of this season – whenever that may be. However, it doesn’t remove the fact that there are still players active for Sky Bet Championship clubs with contracts that were to run out on June 30th.
Here are the five most valuable players, according to website transfermarkt, whose contracts are due up at the end of June.
Niclas Eliasson (Bristol City) – transfermarkt valuation £4.5million: Left-sided midfielder Eliasson, a Swede with Brazilian heritage, signed for The Robins from Swedish side Norrköping in early August 2017 for a fee said to be £1.8million. Since arriving at the club, Eliasson has made 89 appearances from which he has scored seven goals and provided 20 assists. Three of those goals and a remarkable 12 of those assists have come this season for Lee Johnson’s side in 33 Championship games.
Kevin Stewart (Hull City) – transfermarkt valuation £4.05million: 26-year-old Stewart came up through the youth system at North London club Spurs, leaving them to join fellow Premier League set-up Liverpool in early July 2014. A series of loans ensued before he left Anfield and signed for Hull City in late-July 2017. Since arriving at the KCOM, Stewart has made 70 appearances for the Tigers – scoring one goal and providing two assists. That goal and one of those assists have come in the 19 Championship appearances he’s made this season.
Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) – transfermarkt valuation £3.6million: Middlesbrough defender Ayala is another ex-Liverpool player who the Red brought over from Sevilla’s youth set-up in August 2007 for their Under-18s. He was loaned out from Anfield a number of times before arriving at Norwich in August 2011 for a fee of around £800,000. Three years later, in late-January 2014, Ayala left Norwich for Middlesbrough where he has gone on to make 216 appearances for Boro, scoring a total of 23 goals and providing seven assists. Two of those goals have come in this season’s Championship campaign across 25 appearances the Spaniard has made.
Jackson Irvine (Hull City) – transfermarkt valuation £3.15million: 33-cap Australia international Irvine came into British football through the youth ranks at Scottish giants Celtic after signing for their Under-20s from Australian side Frankston Pines at the start of January 2010. After several loan deals and a transfer to Ross County, the midfielder joined Burton Albion in mid-July 2015. It was from Burton that the Tigers signed him in late-August 2017 for a fee of around £2million. Since signing on at the KCOM, Irvine had gone on to make 112 appearances for the East Yorkshire outfit, scoring 10 goals and adding nine assists. Two of those goals and two of those assists have come in 35 Championship games this season.
Mike van der Hoorn (Swansea City) – transfermarkt valuation £3.15million: 27-year-old Dutch centre-back van der Hoornlearned his trade in the Utrecht youth set-up after joining them from Dutch minnows Almere City FC. His first big move came in July 2013 when he left Utrecht to join Ajax in a £3.4million move. Three years later he left the Dutch giants and signed for Swansea in early-July 2016 in a £2.25million deal. Since that initial signing, van der Hoorn has made 119 appearances for the Swans, scoring six goals and adding three assists along the way. This season he has featured in 24 games, scoring once on the opening day of the season in a 2-1 win against Hull City and adding one assist against Birmingham.