There is obviously the worry that Rafa Benitez's contract expires at the end of the season but that is for another time, I am going to be looking at the players who have contracts expiring soon and whether they are worth keeping.
The first player in this article is Karl Darlow and for me, this is a no-brainer. Thanks to not only how good Martin Dubravka's been since joining but also the fact he has remained injury free since joining. At 28 years old, I think Darlow would not want to sign another contract just to sit on the bench and get the occasional cup game and I would prefer to develop Freddie Woodman and make him a good enough second choice than keep Darlow. I would also get rid of Rob Elliot for the same reason.
It has been reported by Sky that Mohamed Diame needs to start three more games for him to have his contract extended and with Sean Longstaff reportedly leaving the London Stadium on crutches on Saturday as he was replaced by Diame at half time, he may well get his chance in our upcoming games. Longstaff's emergence has made it hard for Diame, Ki Sung-Yueng and Jonjo Shelvey to get back into our starting XI but if the 21 year old has a lengthy spell on the sidelines, the trio could well get their chance to impress again. Diame has not been as good as he was in the second half of last season but I would be happy to keep him if he gets a run in the side and performs (a lot of our players usually do better in the second half of the season).
There have been reports that Jack Colback's contract expires next year and not this year but if his contract is up at the end of this season, it will be a relief for us in my opinion as he is simply not good enough and I believe he is on £30,000 a week, which is big wages for a Championship level player. Realistically he will never player under Rafa again. Loaning him out may have helped our wage bill in the short term but it has also meant that he will keep returning in the long term (you can also say the same about Henri Saivet and Achraf Lazaar). Although I believe if his contract expires next year, Nottingham Forest will have the option to buy him at the end of the season.
Victor Fernandez showed real talent not only for the U23s last season but for the first season in the mid season friendly against Royal Antwerp whilst also featuring against St Patrick's and Hull in pre-season last summer. However, he has only played once for the U23s this season having underwent a hip operation in late November, sadly I think he will be gone at the end of the season and if he is offered a new contract, it will probably be for one more year to see if he can recover from the operation.