An amazing XI of players whose contracts expire in the summer, including Lionel Messi and a Man Utd stalwart
The 2022/23 season is nearly over and a string of high-profile players are almost at the end of their lucrative contracts.
Free transfers are becoming more common in football as a lot of players choose to run their contracts down before picking their next move.
We’ve made a brilliant Xl of players who are soon-to-be free agents, arranged in a 4-3-3 formation.
Note: some of these players could still sign a new contract with their current clubs before they become free agents at the start of July.
GK: David de Gea
Despite winning the Premier League Golden Glove in 2022/23, De Gea still faces an uncertain future at Manchester United.
The goalkeeper has made several high-profile mistakes and Erik ten Hag will be in the market for a new goalkeeper in the summer transfer window.
United chose not to trigger a one-year extension in De Gea’s contract as they want to reduce his current £375,000-a-week salary.
While the Spain international has reportedly agreed to sign a new deal on reduced terms, it is yet to be signed off by the club’s hierarchy.
RB: Joel Veltman
Veltman played a key role in Brighton’s success in 2022/23, helping the club qualify for European football for the first time in their history.
According to The Athletic, Brighton are now in talks with the Dutch defender and his representatives over a new contract.
But his impressive performances have reportedly attracted interest from Roma and Barcelona, and he has refused to rule out a move abroad.
“I am happy, but I am also open to other options,” he told Voetbal International. “I’m having a good time in England, but Italy or Spain would be nice.”
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) March 5, 2023
CB: Milan Skriniar
Since joining Inter Milan from Sampdoria in 2017, Skriniar has established himself as one of the best centre-backs in Europe.
But the 28-year-old was stripped of the Nerazzurri captaincy earlier this year after confirming he will not sign a contract extension.
He has reportedly signed a pre-contract agreement with Paris Saint-Germain and his final appearance for Inter will come in the Champions League final against Manchester City.
CB: Sergio Ramos
Skriniar will be replacing Ramos, who won two Ligue 1 titles and the Trophee des Champions during a two-year spell at Paris Saint-Germain.
According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, a few Saudi Arabian clubs have already approached the 37-year-old centre-back.
He could reunite with a former Real Madrid team-mate as Cristiano Ronaldo is playing for Al-Nassr and Karim Benzema is set to join Al-Ittihad.
What a way to sign off!! 🙌
Sergio Ramos bags PSG’s first goal of the night on his last appearance for the club!! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/ao6ZJlvkgt
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) June 3, 2023
LB: Raphael Guerreiro
Guerreiro had a brilliant 2022/23 season with Borussia Dortmund, registering 12 assists from left-back as they narrowly missed out on the Bundesliga title.
He recently turned down the club’s offer of a new contract and has since been linked with Atletico Madrid, Manchester City and OGC Nice.
But the 29-year-old reportedly wants to stay in Germany and is open to joining Bayern Munich, where he would reunite with former Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel.
CM: N’Golo Kante
Kante was plagued by a series of injury problems throughout the 2022/23 season and Chelsea really struggled in his absence.
The 32-year-old midfielder has admitted that he was hoping to extend his stay in west London but talks over a new deal have seemingly stalled in recent weeks.
Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Barcelona are reportedly looking to sign him on a free transfer, while there have also been links with a potential move to Saudi Arabia.
CM: Adrien Rabiot
Having joined Juventus on a Bosman in 2019, Rabiot looks set to complete another free transfer this summer.
He was one of Juventus’ standout performers in 2022/23, registering 11 goals and six assists in 48 appearances in all competitions.
Manchester United pulled out of a deal to sign the midfielder last summer but have reportedly reignited their interest in recent weeks.
Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle United have also been linked with the France international, who has previously expressed his desire to play in the Premier League.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan
The 2023 FA Cup final hero, Gundogan scored twice as Manchester City beat Manchester United at Wembley but it could be his final game for the club on English soil.
While City want to keep hold of the 32-year-old, contract discussions have stalled due to a discrepancy between the two parties over the length of a new deal.
He has been strongly linked with a switch to La Liga champions Barcelona and Arsenal have also entered the race for his signature.
“Nothing has been agreed with City or any other club,” Gundogan’s agent told Fabrizio Romano. “The recent reports are not true. Ilkay is only focused on the (Champions League) final.”
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 3, 2023
RW: Lionel Messi
Widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time, Messi has bid farewell to Paris Saint-Germain after two years in the French capital.
Unsurprisingly, Barcelona have been monitoring the situation and would welcome their all-time record goalscorer back to the club with open arms.
“We have the doors wide open,” Xavi said. “And if he wants to come, I’m in no doubt that it can happen and he would help us. But it’s up to him. It’s his personal choice.”
But Messi’s exorbitant wages may prevent Barcelona from facilitating a move while Saudi outfit Al-Hilal and MLS side Inter Miami have also registered their interest in the 35-year-old.
ST: Marcus Thuram
Thuram enjoyed the best goal-scoring season of his career in 2022/23, registering 16 goals and seven assists in 32 appearances for Borussia Monchengladbach.
The 25-year-old striker is now looking to pursue a new challenge and has refused a number of contract offers from the Bundesliga outfit.
He will not be short of possible suitors this summer as he has already been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Inter, Juventus, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle and Chelsea.
LW: Angel Di Maria
Di Maria joined Juventus on a free transfer last summer and is set to become a free agent for a second consecutive summer after talks over a one-year contract extension broke down.
The 35-year-old, who starred alongside Messi at the 2022 World Cup, registered eight goals and seven assists in all competitions during his solitary season in Italy.
While clubs in Saudi Arabia, America and Argentina all want to sign the winger, Di Maria has admitted that he wants to continue in Europe to boost his hopes of playing in the 2024 Copa America.
The former Real Madrid man could return to Spain as Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are reportedly trying to secure his services.
Substitutes: Loris Karius, Evan Ndicka, Stefan de Vrij, Sergio Busquets, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Youri Tielemans, Naby Keita, Marco Asensio, Wilfried Zaha, Roberto Firmino.