Football’s Top 20 Free Agents
As the season edges closer to its climax, there will be as ever a lot of players considering their future. There are plenty of big name veterans coming to the end of their contracts, some will be staying put but others will heading for pastures new. There are those who have already signed re-contract agreements with new clubs notably Milan Skriniar who will be joining PSG whilst others have a contract extension ready to be announced including Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante. Here we look at the 20 best free transfers that could be available this summer and read the tealeaves to see what they might do.
20. James Milner
One of the most consistent performers in Premie League history could be on the move this summer. James Milner has a bulging medal collection from Liverpool and Manchester City and at 37 still has something to offer. Jurgen Klopp has said he wants Milner to stay, but the likelihood is if he did Milner would have a peripheral role at Liverpool. That could mean Milner moves on as Liverpool rebuild their midfield and he won’t be short of Premier League suitors, with an emotional return to his native Yorkshire with his first club a possibility.
Prediction: Rejoins Leeds United
19. Angel Di Maria
His heroics in the World Cup final have sparked an Indian Summer in the glittering career of Angel Di Maria. Having struggled with injury in the first half of the season, the 35-year-old has come good in the second with a first the goals and assists flowing as Juventus have begun to bounce back from a horrendous year. With so much uncertainty on and off the pitch at Juve it seems unlikely they can afford not to bring back an in-form star for one more year as they continue their recovery.
Prediction: Stays with Juventus
18. David De Gea
Surprisingly Manchester United haven’t yet tied down their longstanding goalkeeper to a fresh deal, the issue is his colossal £375k a week wages. De Gea has rejected United’s offers of a deal on reduced terms and it’s hard to escape the feeling De Gea isn’t quite a fit for Erik Ten Hag who’d prefer a sweeper-keeper. De Gea’s Europa League horror show against Sevilla may well prove the final straw at United and although the Real Madrid ship has long since set sail there are plenty of teams in La Liga that would welcome De Gea.
Prediction: Joins Real Betis
17. Marco Asensio
Once touted as the next superstar of Real Madrid, Asensio has never quite lived up to his early promise. He is however a three time Champions League and even though he’s no longer a regular starter in Madrid he remains a productive forward with eight goals and six assists this season. Surprisingly Asensio is still just 27 and may get back to his best with a fresh start. With Charles De Ketelaere’s struggles at AC Milan this season, Asensio would seem a a ready made replacement at the San Siro.
Prediction: Joins AC Milan
16. Houssem Aouar
After 14 years the Lyon midfielder is finally leaving his boyhood club. Aouar has been repeatedly linked with a move to Arsenal but it seems his future lies elsewhere. Eintracht Frankfurt are set to lose Daichi Kamada this summer and are rumoured to be close to agreeing a deal with Aouar to take over in midfield.
Prediction: Joins Eintracht Frankfurt
15. Moussa Dembele
The former Celtic striker is completing his fifth and final season with Lyon. Dembele has endured a hit and miss spell back in his homeland, with this season falling into the latter category with just three goals in Ligue 1 compared to 21 last term. Dembele is still only 26 and is expected to field offers from clubs in the bottom half of the Premier League with goal shy Wolves and Everton possible destinations.
Prediction: Joins Everton
14. Naby Keita
The combative midfielder hasn’t quite lived up to the £56m Liverpool paid for him back in 2018, his progress frustrated by injuries. He does leave with an impressive medal collection and at 28 he represents a gamble with the inevitably big contract weighted against his injury history. A move back to Germany or Serie A has been mooted with numerous big clubs in the hunt.
Prediction: Joins Borussia Dortmund
13. Aljandro Grimaldo
The Spanish left-back has proved a highly consistent performer for Benfica in recent years. Grimaldo is likely to add a fourth Primeira Liga winners medal this season as he clocks up 200 league games for the Portuguese club. However his contract is about to expire and Grimaldo’s original club, for whom he never made a senior appearance are looking for Jordi Alba’s replacement
Prediction: Rejoins Barcelona
12. Evan Ndicka
The towering centre back looks set to leave Eintracht Frankfurt after a highly successful five years in the Bundesliga. Ndicka has been close to ever present with Frankfurt, elected for the Bundesliga team of the year last season and winning the Europa League. At 23, he could be the best long term prospect available on a free this summer with a host of clubs interested. With Jurgen Klopp looking to overhaul Liverpool, a move to Merseyside seems probable.
Prediction: Joins Liverpool
11. Jonathan Bamba
The break up of Lille’s 2020-21 title squad looks set to continue with winger Jonathan Bamba out of contract. Now aged 27 Bamba can no longer be considered a player with potential but he is a productive one with a move to a club with their sights on European competition likely. Several Serie A clubs have been linked with Bamba but none more so than Atalanta who will again be playing European competition next season.
Prediction: Joins Atalanta
10. Raphael Guerreiro
It seems the 29-year-old Portugal international will be getting a fresh two year contract offer from Borussia Dortmund. The 29-year-old left-back has been with Dortmund since 2016, however Dortmund have also agreed terms with another left-back in Borussia Monchengladbach’s Ramy Bensebaini. Should Guerreiro decide to move on there is interest from numerous Premier League clubs but Dortmund remain in the box seat.
Predictions: Stays with Borussia Dortmund
9. Roberto Firmino
The Brazilian striker will bid a fond farewell to Liverpool this summer after an eight year stint at Anfield which saw Firmino win every major trophy available. Firmino has been increasingly on the fringe of the Liverpool team over the last few seasons but at 31 still has plenty left in the tank. It’s likely Firmino moves to Italy with all the Champions League contenders possible destinations. However Champions elect Napoli will come under pressure for star striker Victor Osimhen and Firmino could be part of a package deal of replacements.
Prediction: joins Napoli
8. Wilfried Zaha
After more than 450 games in two stints with Crystal Palace it seems Wilfried Zaha is finally leaving Selhurst Park. Now aged 30, Zaha has given his best years in South London but the tricky winger will have plenty of suitors both in England and further afield. Plenty of rumours have Zaha targeted to head for Saudi Arabia, however Zaha’s only major honour remains the 2013 Community Shield with Manchester United and he’s never featured in European competition. One of those two gaps could be filled by a switch across London to Tottenham.
Prediction: Joins Tottenham
7. Daichi Kamada
The attacking midfielder is enjoying a stellar season, bagging 13 goals for Eintracht Frankfurt. Borussia Dortmund are keen to add Kamada with Jude Bellingham likely departing this summer. However it seems the Japan international would prefer a move to Spain with several Champions League hopefuls keen to secure his services.
Prediction: Joins Atletico Madrid
6. Marcus Thuram
The France international is leaving Borussia Monchengladbach and is likely to cause the most intense free transfer chase of the summer. That’s because a surprisingly high number of big clubs are lacking a centre forward with Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern, Atletico amongst those chasing Thuram. The France international is enjoying the best of his four seasons in Germany this term with 15 goals thus far, for his agent the timing couldn’t have been better.
Prediction: Joins Manchester United
5. Adrien Rabiot
The France international is out of contract at Juventus and with cost cutting likely in Turin, Rabiot will be on his way. The midfielder has been frequently linked with Premier League clubs most frequently Tottenham. Rabiot has made it clear he wants another Champions League club and with Barcelona under financial strain a silky playmaker on a free transfer makes perfect sense.
Prediction: Joins Barcelona
4. Youri Tielemans
Leicester’s FA Cup final hero is moving on after a frustrating final season at the King Power. Tielemans has dealt with injuries this season but that shouldn’t stop him getting offers from the top end of the Premier League. Almost every club with Champions League ambitions have been linked with Tielemans, but none as frequently as Arsenal who could bring Tielemans in as the long term replacement for Granit Xhaka.
Prediction: Joins Arsenal
3. Ilkay Gundogan
Pep Guardiola’s first signing for Manchester City is out of contract this summer. Gundogan has enjoyed phenomenal success in Manchester and at 32 he’s hardly a spent force. It was widely expected Gundogan would move on this summer, but with the move for Kalvin Phillips looking shaky, City have become more keen to hold onto Gundogan. The Germany international has other offers on the table including Barcelona, if City want to keep Gundogan they may need to offer a longer contract than they were initially hoping to give.
Prediction: Stays at Manchester City
2. Luka Modric
The legendary midfielder is now 37, but has made it clear he wants at least one more season in top class football, possibly waving a final goodbye at Euro 2024. Real Madrid are very keen for Modric to end his glittering career at the Bernabeu. One last year in Madrid seems very likely.
Prediciton: Stays at Real Madrid
1. Lionel Messi
Arguably the greatest player of all time is likely to be on the move this summer. Messi seems likely to leave PSG this summer by which time he will be 36, the question is where could he realistically go? The romantic choices would be either a return to Barcelona or even his first club of Newell’s. Messi’s father and agent remains on good terms with Barca but it remains unclear if a reunion would work for both parties, however Xavi appears to be pushing for a reunion and Messi is looking to add one mor Champions League medal to his collection. Newell’s meanwhile have often talked of their commitment to bringing Messi home to finish his career in Argentina.
The more commercial options would be a move to Inter Miami or possibly joining Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia. Messi could yet take up his option of a final year with PSG but this will be the story that runs throughout the summer. Barcelona will inevitably have a drama getting Messi under their salary cap restrictions but if the will is there they usually find a way.
Prediction: Rejoins Barcelona
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