Contracts are all about negotiating the best deal for yourself that you can get at the time.
A few years back, Theo Walcott got himself a big new contract mainly due to other senior players around him leaving. He had 8 months left on his deal and with the club already having lost the likes of Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Alex Song, they could not afford to also lose Walcott.
The result was Walcott becomes the highest paid player in the clubs history, all due to the circumstances of the negotiations.
At the moment Arsenal have both Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere in a sort of contract stand-off with the club. Ramsey has 18 months left on his deal, Wilshere under 6 months.
Whilst it is the club they are currently in stand-off with, they are actually playing a game of poker with each other, it seems.
At the minute, both are competing for the same position in the starting XI. I read somewhere that the pair have played something like 69 minutes together in the league this season.
This then creates a situation where both players become important to each other when it comes to contract negotiations.
Lets paint the scenario…
Arsenal can not afford to lose both Ramsey and Wilshere. They would prefer to keep both. But if one were to leave before the other has signed a new deal, the remaining player will be in much more of a commanding position to demand higher wages.
If Wilshere continues his stalemate with the club and leaves in the summer on a free transfer, Arsenal could not afford to sell Aaron Ramsey in the same window. Likewise Arsenal would not want to then risk losing Wilshere on a free one summer, then Ramsey on a free the next.
Wilshere leaving would allow Ramsey to almost write his own cheque when it comes to salary.
Then switch it on its head.
Ramsey informs the club that he will not be signing a new contract, and the club start to plan to move him on in the summer. Wilshere gets a sniff of this, and suddenly the club need him to stay. They could not afford to sell Ramsey and lose Wilshere on a free transfer.
Therefore, despite his injury record, Wilshere then moves into a position of strength with his contract.
Whilst both are not signing, neither knows how strong their own hand is. They need the other to decide their own future before negotiating their own one.
Then we have the scenario of if one signs a new contract.
If Wilshere were to sign tomorrow, I am sure the Ramsey one will follow shortly after. The Welshman will still command a huge wage, more than justifiable, but his importance to the club and therefore his negotiating power will be diminished.
Likewise if Ramsey signed at the end of the month, Wilshere will soon sign as the bargaining chip of Ramsey not being at the club will be off the table.
The clubs ideal scenario is that both stay, and compete for the same place.
They might be in a stand-off with the club, but they are actually in a stand-off with eachother as they attempt to maximise their earnings.