Sergio Aguero looks like heading home and a Man United flop is wanted in Italy, but could Clasico rivals Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos REALLY join forces in Paris? Ten HUGE names out of contract this summer and free to talk to other clubs
- Players out of contract in the summer can now negotiate with clubs abroad
- With six months left to run, many stars could make moves in the coming months
- Lionel Messi is set to leave Barcelona and Sergio Ramos could leave Real Madrid
- Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero have six months left as does Georginio Wijnaldum
- Which other players could leave on a free transfer come the end of the season?
In a season distinguished by the continued effects of the pandemic, with the finances of many top clubs crippled as a result, free transfers may just be the way to go in 2021.
With the turn of the year comes the January transfer window but perhaps more importantly this year than any other, it marks the beginning of six months where soon-to-be out-of-contract stars can negotiate with clubs abroad.
Pre-contract agreements are common and there are a number of top players currently looking at a plethora of options as their deal whittles down. Here are 10 stars who could move on – for no fee at all – come the summer.
Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos are nearing the end of their deals
LIONEL MESSI (BARCELONA)
Possible destinations: PSG, Man City, Inter Miami
The Barcelona captain pushed for a sensational move away last summer, but the board stood firm.
However, Barca are powerless to stop their talisman opting for pastures new this year, with the Argentine’s contract due to expire in the summer and though he said last week he remains ‘undecided’ on his future, many expect the one-club man to move on.
PSG, with his compatriot Mauricio Pochettino in charge, are the favourites to reunite Messi with Neymar, while the lure of working with Pep Guardiola again at Manchester City means a move to the Premier League remains a tantalising option after the summer flirting. A move to the MLS may come later and would be a surprise as early as this summer.
Lionel Messi’s contract at Barcelona is up in the summer and he could move to PSG or Man City
DAVID ALABA (BAYERN MUNICH)
Possible destinations: Liverpool, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United
Like Messi (who incidentally has the same birthday as Alaba), the Bayern Munich defender has been with his club for a long, long time but could leave the Bavarians for a new challenge this summer.
Talks between club and player have broken down and the Austrian looks increasingly likely to leave, with latest reports declaring Liverpool and Real Madrid the frontrunners.
Alaba’s reported £12m-a-season wage demands could be a sticking point for any potential suitor, but at the age of 28 the left-back turned centre-back still has plenty of fruitful years ahead.
Bayern Munich defender David Alaba is out-of-contract with a host of top clubs interested
GEORGINIO WIJNALDUM (LIVERPOOL)
Possible destinations: Barcelona, Inter Milan
The Liverpool midfielder continues to be a regular in Jurgen Klopp’s side but a ‘stalemate’ over an extension to his contract continues.
The Dutchman, central to the Reds’ success over the past two years, has been hotly linked with a move to Barcelona where he would reunite with former national team boss Ronald Koeman.
Inter Milan are also interested in the 30-year-old, who has insisted he will make a decision regarding his future at Liverpool before officially talking to any foreign clubs about a pre-contract.
Georginio Wijnaldum is still at a ‘stalemate’ with Liverpool and could move on in the summer
SERGIO RAMOS (REAL MADRID)
Possible destination: PSG, Tottenham
In what would be another shock departure, Ramos’ time at Real Madrid could be coming to an end.
The Bernabeu captain has reportedly told president Florentino Perez that PSG have told him that they want him to be part of a ‘super-team’ including Messi in Paris.
Having been in the Spanish capital for 16 years, Ramos may take the plunge and seek a new challenge and a reunion with former boss Jose Mourinho at Tottenham was also recently mooted.
Sergio Ramos has been at Real Madrid for nearly 16 years but will he sign a contract extension?
SERGIO AGUERO (MAN CITY)
Possible destination: Independiente
Manchester City’s all-time record goalscorer could finally move on after 10 years in the summer, after a year blighted by fitness problems.
The 32-year-old has started just a handful of matches since June and has seen his central role taken by Gabriel Jesus, Ferran Torres and even Kevin De Bruyne in recent weeks.
An extension to the Argentine’s deal expiring in the summer looks a long shot at this point and a return to his homeland is most likely, with Independiente – where he started his career – the frontrunners.
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero could find himself out of the exit door in July 2021
MEMPHIS DEPAY (LYON)
Possible destinations: Barcelona, Juventus
The Lyon winger, who has got his career back on track following his failed stint at Manchester United, is one of Koeman’s top targets at Barcelona and a move last summer was reportedly close.
Though that did not materialise, the Spanish giants remain interested in a free transfer come the summer and the 26-year-old has hinted he is ready to move on come July.
Juventus were reported to have joined the race for the Holland international recently, but a move to LaLiga – perhaps as something of a replacement for Messi – seems most likely.
Lyon forward Memphis Depay was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona last summer
ERIC GARCIA (MAN CITY)
Possible destinations: Barcelona, Arsenal
The Manchester City centre-back insists he won’t sign a new deal at the Etihad and is reportedly waiting on the outcome of Barcelona’s presidential elections at the end of the month.
Currently sidelined with coronavirus, the 19-year-old has played just 200 minutes of Premier League football this term – despite establishing himself as a mainstay in Guardiola’s team at the end of last season.
A five-year contract has reportedly been provisionally agreed for Garcia to return to Barca – where he left for City in 2017 – though Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have also been linked with a free transfer.
Eric Garcia looks set to re-join Barcelona having opted against signing new deal at Man City
ANGEL DI MARIA (PSG)
Possible destination: Inter Milan
The PSG winger is coming towards the latter years of his career at the age of 32 but still possesses raw quality which will be highly-coveted should he not sign an extension in Paris.
Whether the appointment of fellow Argentine Pochettino convinces Di Maria to stay put remains to be seen, but he started in the 1-1 draw at Saint-Etienne on Wednesday night.
A player who flopped at Manchester United after a successful period at Real Madrid has been linked with another top European league in Serie A, with Antonio Conte’s Inter interested.
Angel Di Maria’s contract at PSG expires in June – and an extension is not yet in the pipeline
GIANLUIGI DONNARUMMA (AC MILAN)
Possible destinations: Chelsea, Tottenham, Inter Milan, Juventus
This is an interesting situation – the young AC MIlan keeper has previously expressed his desire to stay at the club for a ‘very long time’, insisting back in November that his agent Mino Raiola would negotiate a new deal soon.
However, with no announcement forthcoming, the 21-year-old has been linked with a host of top European clubs, including Chelsea and Spurs from the Premier League.
While staying at the San Siro in red and black remains the most probable option, Donnarumma can explore deals abroad with less than six months to go – will that change his thinking?
Gianluigi Donnarumma has not yet signed an extension to his current contract at AC Milan
HAKAN CALHANOGLU (AC MILAN)
Possible destination: Manchester United
Maybe Milan are completely in control of their players behind-the-scenes, but the contract situation of midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu is very similar to that of Donnarumma.
Recent reports suggest an extension is imminent for a player who has been integral to Milan’s assault on the Serie A title this season, featuring in all 16 league games and recording seven assists.
But a deal has not yet been signed and Manchester United – despite an abundance of midfielders at their disposal – are monitoring the situation.
AC Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu is also coming to the end of his deal at the Serie A side
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