Money in football is just going up and up and up. Be it transfer fees, player wages, ticket prices or TV deals. It is rare you get something for value, let alone nothing, but in just a couple of months time, there’ll be a crop of big-name free agents on the market.
Clubs can approach anyone whose contract is expiring in under six months so long as they play out of the nation to hit a pre-contract arrangement and, from June 30, anybody out of contract can move with no transfer fee, so long as they are over age 23.
There are hundreds of players who’ll become free agents this summer, here are ten of the most high-profile…
The Brazilian has rediscovered something near his best form under Frank Lampard in Chelsea this year. In fact, the 31-year-old has become one of the Blues’ leaders and has been captain on many occasions, an indication of his position in Stamford Bridge.
Long connected with Spanish giants Barcelona, Juventus have also shown an interest in the prior Shakhtar Donetsk wideman. Chelsea’s policy of just handing one-year deals to players over 30 could come back to haunt them.
The Blues went back on that notorious stance last summer to hand David Luiz a multi-year extension. But this was when they were under a transfer embargo and keeping assets was of overriding importance. With Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic representing the future, Willian may want to explore his options abroad.
The Bournemouth winger was widely regarded as one of the best players outside the Premier League’s top six at the beginning of this season. But the Scot has fought to replicate his flying form of the previous couple of seasons and has found himself relegated to bit-part player in the Cherries’ struggle for survival.
Reports of interest from Arsenal weren’t uncommon before this season with the 25-year-old Fraser turns 26 in February offering a direct and pacey alternative to the Gunners’ inside forward.
This week, new reports have emerged asserting Manchester United attempted to signal the diminutive Scottish international in January. If Fraser is to leave the South Coast this summer, you can expect a host of top-half sides to be taking a keen interest, off the back of a difficult season.
The 28-year-old Belgian full-back may not belong in Paris Saint-Germain’s clutch of world-class superstars but he remains an essential component of Thomas Tuchel’s side and the only senior right-back available to the German following Dani Alves’ exit last summer.
Meunier has made his intention to leave the Parc des Princes clear for some time now and has been linked with moves into the Premier League and Italy with Juventus, kings of the free transfer, merely one of the interested parties.
In January, Manchester United allegedly’identified’ Meunier as the man to replace Ashley Young following his switch to Internazionale. The Red Devils were linked with loads of gamers but this was one of those few links which made sense. They will need to act quickly.
Among the most in-demand free agents on the market, Mertens looks set to walk out on Napoli following seven goal-laden seasons when his contract expires this summer. He is going to be irreplaceable.
The diminutive attacker arrived from PSV as a broad forward but has transitioned into one of the best false nines in European soccer. The 2016/17 effort was his piece de resistance, netting an incredible 34 goals from only 46 appearances.
He has recently surpassed the 115 goals Napoli legend Diego Maradona scored during his time at the Stadio San Paolo. Interest in the Chinese Super League has been followed by links with Atlético Madrid, Internazionale, Milan, Juventus and, most recently, Chelsea.
Having grown tired at being left out of the side in favour of PSG’s Quatres Fantastiques, Cavani announced his intention to leave the French capital in January with athletic director Leonardo and trainer Tuchel begrudgingly respecting his choice.
However, a move failed to materialise and he will rather become a free agent in June after seven years with the Ligue 1 giants. Atlético Madrid were believed to be closest to El Matador but could not agree on a price with Les Parisiens for their all-time top goalscorer of 198 goals.
Former club Napoli have also shown an interest and might have a vacancy up top if the aforementioned Mertens leaves while Chelsea and Manchester United are keen.