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I think it's partly a Pandemic re-adjustment
Those players would presumably have been moved on or signed new contracts if it wasn't for the Pandemic. It's this sort of stuff that presumably allows us to make a decent case to the league about why we've been unable to to follow our business plan (such as it was) and incurred so much debt.
And thinking … how have they let that happen ??
But I suppose similar happened to Chelsea recently and their defence. Most of them were out of contract end of season 2021/22.
Maybe the power swing back to players is gathering more pace at the top end (if it ever they needed it more) ???
They wanted to sign him but they have too many players (and don't want to sell the players that others want.)
Theor actually in a bit of a mess, I think they have 8 out of contract next summer, most of whom are mid 20s/sellable assets.