SHANE Long’s expiring Saints contract must be resolved by June 23.

Premier League clubs agreed that player contracts ending next month can be extended to the end of the 2019/20 season, whenever that may be.

But they have set a deadline – and it’s an issue both Long and Saints will need to sort out.

Before the coronavirus crisis brought a halt to football, the Daily Echo, along with other news outlets, reported that the Irishman was set to extend his stay at St Mary’s.

Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl drew a line in the sand and said contracts will only be discussed once his side reaches 36 points.

However, because of next month’s deadline, Saints could be forced to abandon that way of thinking.

The Premier League have given clubs three options, with its new chief executive Richard Masters saying the reason behind this move is so that “clubs can complete the season with the same squad they had prior to the suspension.”

One option available to Saints is to simply extend Long’s contract until the end of the 2019/20 campaign.

If the St Mary’s side were to go down this route it would mean that the Irishman will become a free agent at midnight on Saints’ final game of the season, whenever that may be.

As well as that, the contract has to be on identical terms, with weekly wages in mind, to the one Long is on now.

Another alternative would be, as was previously expected, to give him a new permanent deal on the south coast.

This would eradicate any question marks over the 33-year-old’s future.

And the final option is that Saints don’t offer Long a new deal at all, meaning he would become a free agent on June 30.

Hasenhuttl has gone on record and said how important Long has been to Saints this season – especially when it comes to Danny Ings scoring as many times as he has.

Long’s relentless pressing allows Ings the time to position himself in the right place to convert an opportunity should a chance come his way.

The 33-year-old is settled on the south coast with his family and is in favour of extending his stay.

He joined Saints from Hull back in 2014 and signed his most recent contract extension in 2016.

Before the season was paused, Long had bagged three goals in his previous eight games.