Now that we’re into January, footballers in the final year of their respective contracts can negotiate with other clubs ahead of potential free transfers this summer. With that in mind, here are the top players who could be available for free at the end of the season.
Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
Age: 32 | Position: Attacking midfielder
One way or another, the Ozil-at-Arsenal saga will mercifully end this summer – and potentially earlier. His playmaking talents are undeniable, and he’ll garner interest despite his acrimonious tenure in north London.
Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)
Age: 30 | Position: Midfielder
Liverpool reportedly offered Wijnaldum a new contract in December, but the Dutch midfielder won’t rush into a decision on his future. If he leaves Anfield, the queue for his services will be lengthy.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Age: 32 | Position: Striker
The Manchester City legend has long been open about his desire to return to Argentine club Independiente when his time at the Etihad comes to an end. That reunion could come to fruition this year.
Eric Garcia (Manchester City)
Age: 19 | Position: Center-back
The teenage defender reportedly has already inked a pre-contract agreement with Barcelona, who have been trying to re-sign Garcia since he left Catalonia for England in 2017.
Olivier Giroud (Chelsea)
Age: 34 | Position: Striker
Giroud, who needs playing time to ensure he’s part of the France squad for this year’s European Championship, continues to deliver when he gets on the pitch for Chelsea. The veteran still has plenty to offer.
Edinson Cavani (Manchester United)
Age: 33 | Position: Striker
Manchester United would like to trigger an option to extend Cavani’s contract by one season. The Uruguayan’s presence helps take some of the scoring burden off the Red Devils’ young attacking core.
Others of note: Fernandinho (Manchester City), David Luiz (Arsenal), Demarai Gray (Leicester City), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Romain Saiss (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Age: 33 | Position: Forward
The big one. Messi nearly engineered his exit this past summer after a much-publicized feud with the former Barcelona regime. Rumors about his future are rampant, but the Argentine says he won’t make a decision until June.
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Age: 34 | Position: Center-back
Given how fundamental he still is to Real Madrid’s success, it seems unlikely that the Spanish club will fail to extend Sergio Ramos’ contract. Crazier things have happened, though.
Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Age: 35 | Position: Midfielder
Once the undisputed top midfielder in the world, Modric continues to be a key contributor for Real Madrid despite slowing down as he’s aged. Zinedine Zidane clearly still values the Croatian.
Others of note: Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid), Riqui Puig (Barcelona)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan)
Age: 39 | Position: Striker
Ibrahimovic has transformed AC Milan since returning to the San Siro. The ageless Swede looks capable of spearheading the attack for multiple seasons to come. Both the club and player have suggested an extension is likely.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan)
Age: 21 | Position: Goalkeeper
In addition to being an elite ‘keeper, Donnarumma has developed into a vocal leader for the Rossoneri. Difficult as dealing with super-agent Mino Raiola may be, losing the Italian international would spell disaster for Milan.
Hakan Calhanoglu (AC Milan)
Age: 26 | Position: Attacking midfielder
It’s going to be a busy few months for Milan, who also need to secure Calhanoglu’s services. The Turkish midfielder’s playmaking ability and delivery from set-pieces have been vital to the resurgence of the famed club.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Roma)
Age: 31 | Position: Attacking midfielder
Mkhitaryan has been nothing short of excellent since arriving in the Italian capital, becoming a vital part of the Roma attack. His energy, inventiveness, and scoring ability have all been on full display this season.
Arkadiusz Milik (Napoli)
Age: 26 | Position: Striker
Frozen out at Napoli, Milik’s time at the club is certainly finished. The only question now is whether someone will pay a moderate fee to seal the deal this month or wait to secure the striker for free in the summer.
Others of note: Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Elseid Hysaj (Napoli)
David Alaba (Bayern Munich)
Age: 28 | Position: Defender/midfielder
Real Madrid are working hard to land Alaba, who, after Messi, is arguably the most noteworthy player about to hit the open market. His salary will be huge, though, which limits the number of teams in the running.
Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich)
Age: 32 | Position: Center-back
Despite starting almost every Bundesliga match so far this season, it’s widely expected that Boateng’s trophy-laden, decade-long spell in Bavaria will come to an end once the campaign is over.
Others of note: Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich)
Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain)
Age: 32 | Position: Winger/attacking midfielder
The next few months at PSG will be fascinating. The French giants need to decide if they can afford to keep Di Maria without compromising their ability to retain superstars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe down the road.
Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain)
Age: 27 | Position: Attacking midfielder/forward
Draxler’s wildly disappointing spell in the French capital is likely nearing its conclusion. The German, once tipped for stardom, has never delivered on his undeniable talent and is an obvious candidate to be shipped out in January.
Memphis Depay (Lyon)
Age: 26 | Position: Forward
Depay has been critical to helping Lyon get back into the Ligue 1 title conversation this season, and his exploits have opened eyes across Europe. Barcelona were already sniffing around before the campaign.
Florian Thauvin (Marseille)
Age: 27 | Position: Attacking midfielder/forward
Marseille president Jacques-Henri Eyraud said last week that extending Thauvin’s deal is one of the club’s “priorities” but admitted it may not be financially possible to retain the Frenchman.
Others of note: Juan Bernat (Paris Saint-Germain), Jordan Amavi (Marseille)
Already out of contract
Several notable players are already free agents and searching for a new club.
|Player||Age||Most Recent Club|
|Diego Costa||32||Atletico Madrid|
|Alexandre Pato||31||Sao Paulo|
|Jack Wilshere||29||West Ham United|