number of football’s biggest names are potentially available on a free transfer in the summer, and can talk to clubs regarding a Bosman move from January.
Here are some of the best, starting with the actual best.
Even a new Barcelona president may not be enough to convince the world’s best player to remain at the Nou Camp in the summer. Messi, who recently broke Pele’s record for goals for a single club, was unsuccessful in his attempts to force a move in the summer and his relationship with Barca appears broken beyond repair. A January move is out of the question but Manchester City will be among the clubs sniffing around the 33-year-old next June if he fails to agree a new deal. Any move would be one of the biggest of all time.
Left out of the Premier League and Europa League squads, stripped of a number and training alone, Tottenham’s forgotten man has no future under Jose Mourinho. The trouble for Spurs has been finding a club Rose is willing to join, with the left-back having previously turned down offers to join middling sides on the Continent. Rose may well wait until the end of the season and his contract to leave, when he will have more options as a free agent, but his slim chances of playing at the European Championship rest on a January exit.
The German has not played for Arsenal since March and wasn’t even registered in their Premier League squad for this season. As a result, he will be allowed to leave once his £350,000-a-week contract expires in the summer. A move to the MLS is looking likely, while clubs in Qatar and Saudi Arabia are monitoring the German.
The question surrounding Giroud is whether he goes in January or at the end of the season. He has put himself in the shop window with his fine goal-scoring form in recent weeks – and there will be no shortage of takers for him whenever he becomes available. His Premier League pedigree would make him a real coup for a number of clubs in the top flight as a free transfer in the summer. But he might prefer a lucrative move overseas.
The Manchester City striker has scored over 250 goals in almost a decade at the Etihad Stadium but his contract expires in June and his future remains unclear. Now 32, Aguero has had injury problems this season. He has made four appearances totalling 66 minutes in the two and a half weeks since his latest comeback attempt from a knee injury he suffered in June, but his absence has highlighted how important he still is to Pep Guardiola.
The centre-back cost Arsenal £35m in 2016 but he now looks set to leave the club for free in the summer. His form initially approved under Mikel Arteta, however he has slipped down the pecking order. Clubs in Italy are keeping tabs on Mustafi, but there is interest from his native Germany and sides in Spain.
Aside from Lionel Messi, Alaba might just be the most sought-after free agent in world football come the end of the season. The versatile Bayern Munich star is already on the radar of Europe’s leading clubs – and has big admirers in the Premier League. The 28-year-old has already been linked with moves to Manchester United and Chelsea, and there are sure to be more queuing up to make their pitch from January onwards.
The former Arsenal man is having somewhat of a renaissance back at Southampton. Walcott returned on loan from Everton in the summer and has rather been a revelation in recent weeks. The 31-year-old’s deal at Everton is up at the end of the season and there could be far more clubs than just Southampton interested in him if he keeps up his good form, which has seen him score two goals and provide two assists in 10 Premier League games.
The Brazilian’s move from Chelsea to Arsenal has hardly been a roaring success. Luiz was handed a contract extension in 2020 which takes him up to the end of this season, and Mikel Arteta may well be happy to see the back of the erratic defender. Luiz was supposed to provide leadership in Arsenal dressing room but seems to have done more harm than good with reports of splits within the squad behind the scenes.
The Belgian striker has forced his way back in to Roy Hodgson’s plans at Crystal Palace of late, scoring three goals in as many games before being controversially sent off against West Ham. Palace could well hand Benteke another contract extension as they look to protect the value of one of their top earners, but if not then he will have suitors across Europe, including a couple of Premier league clubs.