With the season driving towards Euro 2020 and Copa America 2021 after the end of club football, the most important time for the clubs arises, the summer transfer window. While there are many deals to be cracked during this hectic period, some can be done easily, as they require no transfer fee or negotiations with any club, the transfers involving free agents.
The coronavirus pandemic has ensured that there is substantial financial burdens on clubs this season which makes free transfers even more important in 2021. Some of them have already been done, with Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia moving from Manchester City to Barcelona whereas Real Madrid swooped in for Bayern Munich’s David Alaba.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) May 31, 2021
So, we, at FootTheBall, looked 10 top players who are up for grabs at virtually zero cost:
Note: Even though Lionel Messi has not signed an extension with Barcelona, he is extremely close to signing one, hence, has been excluded from this list of free agents.
After 16 years at Real Madrid, captain Sergio Ramos is set to leave the club after the breakdown in negotiations over new contract. And with less than a month of his present contract still left, it seems unlikely that either party is going to budge and there is going to be a certain divorce between the two.
Many clubs including the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have looked at signing the Spaniard on a free, but nothing has been finalised yet as the defender is still assessing his options.
It came as a surprise when Paolo Maldini and AC Milan had announced that goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was not offered a new contract extension and was free to find a new club in the summer.
One of the surprises on the list, Donnarumma hasn’t found a club yet. (Image Courtesy: AC Milan / Website)
While Donnarumma is already one of the highest paid goalkeepers in the world, his agent Mino Raiola was holding out a much-improved contract and that did not seem right for the officials in Milan that led them to replace their academy product with Ligue 1 winner and Lille’s shot stopper Mike Maignan for a reported €13 million.
Reports in Italy suggest that Juventus are considering bringing the 21-year-old into the club but for that they need to sell Wojciech Szczesny whereas a move to Barcelona was never in place.
Although Olympique Lyonnais have attempted rigorously to convince their captain to stay in Lyon, nothing came to avail as Depay is set to leave Les Gones after five very successful season where he racked up 76 goals in 178 appearances.
Still only 27 years old, Depay has a lot more left in his tank and is sighting at a move to Barcelona where his Dutch compatriot Ronald Koeman is keen to bring the winger-cum-striker to Catalonia. Even PSG are looking to swoop in for Depay but the move to Barcelona looks certain as the days go by.
A key figure in Jurgen Klopp’s midfield at Liverpool, Wijnaldum will be missed at Anfield, and it will be a difficult task for the Merseyside club to find his replacement. Similar to the Memphis Depay situation, the Dutchman is wanted by Koeman for his Barcelona side and for the past few weeks it looked a near certainty that Wijnaldum would sign for the Catalan club.
PSG are now ready to hijack Wijnaldum deal – while Barça were already planning for medicals! 🇫🇷
Gini now open to accept PSG proposal, salary doubled – Pochettino called him too.
If Barcelona don’t raise their bid, Wijnaldum will join PSG.
Official decision in the next hours.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 5, 2021
But PSG have raced ahead with an improved offer and with Mauricio Pochettino having spoken to Wijnaldum personally regarding the move, the Paris club are now the clear favourites in signing the Dutch international unless Barcelona come up with something more.
Another of Milan’s star players who is heading towards the end of the existing contract, Calhanoglu is set to move away from Italy as there are admirers for his talents in the Premier League. The capital club had expressed a strong desire to keep the Turkish international, but the contract offered in the past weeks was deemed unsatisfactory.
One of the most in-demand free agents, Calhanoglu is eyeing for a move to the Premier League. (Image Courtesy: Serie A / Website)
Manchester United and Liverpool have been keeping tabs on the players for the past few years but a move to Arsenal seems the best option for Calhanoglu as they continue to search for a creator due to their failure in landing Emiliano Buendia from Norwich or extend Martin Odegaard’s loan.
It was rumoured that Man City were offering their captain a new deal after the Champions League final but that does not seem the case as the Brazilian was not named in the club’s retained list of players after the conclusion of the 2020-21 season.
The list was published so as to comply with the Premier League rules and while City are still negotiating with Fernandinho over a new contract, nothing seems to be finalised yet. Potential suitors from Italy and France are circling for the services of the Brazilian while there is also a possibility of him returning to Brazil.
The Brazilian is confirmed to leave Arsenal as a free agent after voluntarily rejecting contract extension that could have seen him stay at the Emirates for another two years. The former Chelsea defender has faced a fair share of injuries while inconsistencies also led to his poor performances in the two years at Arsenal.
After rejecting a new two-year extension, David Luiz is set to become one of the top free agents. (Image Courtesy: Arsenal / Website)
Serie A club Lazio have emerged as an option for Luiz while there have a host of club in the United States who look to bring the Brazilian to the MLS. But for these moves to happen, Luiz must take a pay-cut as his present contract which stands around €115,000 per week is seen a major obstacle.
Jerome Boateng will turn 33 this year, but he would still be a huge boost for any interested candidate. The German defender, who looked like moving away from Bayern when Niko Kovac was still in charge, had a change in fortunes after the arrival of Hansi Flick but the board now have opted not to offer a new contract.
Boateng is set to leave in the summer after a trophy-laden ten year spell with Bayern Munich. (Image Courtesy: FIFA / Website)
Newly appointed AS Roma manager Jose Mourinho is said to be a fan of the German while reports suggest clubs such as Lazio and Tottenham are monitoring the centre back. With Fabio Paratici now at the helm of player recruitment at Spurs, it would not be a surprise if he signed him when we look at his history of signing free agents.
After a significantly successful career at Bayern Munich, Javi Martinez will leave the German champions after nine years where he pretty much every trophy that was available. Martinez, who is still 32 years of age, looks certain to return to Spain rather than moving into a new country.
Martinez, along with Boateng, is set to leave Bayern as free agents after nine years at the club. (Image Courtesy: Bundesliga / Website)
Martinez is being linked with a return to Athletic Bilbao, to lend some experience to the Marcelinho managed squad but that would require him to take a significant pay cut from his deal at the Bavarian club. Also, boyhood club Osasuna have emerged as an option but the move to Bilbao looks more likely.
The Belgian international who was responsible for scoring the winner against West Bromwich Albion in 2017 to win the Premier League title for Chelsea, is finally out of contract at the London club. In the five years at Chelsea, Batshuayi has made only 48 league appearances and made four different loan moves in the same period.
Batshuayi, who is in his second loan with Crystal Palace. (Image Courtesy: Michy Batshuayi / Twitter)
Although it was rumoured that Chelsea were planning to offer an extension, Batshuayi is set to move away permanently, with his former manager Marcelo Bielsa looking to bring the striker to Leeds in order to strengthen his attack at the club.