Who is on the move? Ten top players who will soon be available on free transfers
With the January transfer window a few days away now, attention will soon turn to how could be on the move.
Indeed, if the winter market is notoriously difficult to navigate, it often represents the first flirtation between clubs and players, especially those who are approaching the end of their contracts.
Some of the biggest names in the game will be able to talk to foreign clubs in January, and while pre-contractual deals are reasonably rare, the coming weeks will provide some sort of indication as to where many of them will go.
With that in mind, Standard Sport’s reporting team has identified the top stories you need to keep as contracts across Europe and beyond.
Mbappe tried to force a move to Real Madrid in the summer transfer window and is expected to end his contract at Paris Saint-Germain. PSG are hoping to negotiate a new deal with the 22-year-old, but a move to Real next summer seems the most likely outcome. Real could face competition from Liverpool and Manchester City, but Mbappe has made it clear that his desire is to move to the Bernabeu.
Manchester United appear to have agreed for Pogba to terminate his contract at Old Trafford and become a free agent next summer. United will not allow the 28-year-old to leave in January, so he is free to negotiate a summer stint with a non-England squad from January 1. Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid all have long-term interests. in Pogba.
Lingard’s offer to find his way into the Manchester United squad after his superb loan with West Ham fell flat. He hasn’t started a Premier League game all season, having rejected West Ham’s summer advances in favor of a final crack at Old Trafford.
The Hammers remain enthusiastic in January, but it is believed that some in Lingard’s camp would rather wait until summer and move with a wider selection of clubs. England will be a key factor in any move. Leaving a move until the summer risks leaving the midfield little time to work its way into Gareth Southgate’s plans for the World Cup in Qatar.
London, Madrid or … Newcastle. Niklas Sule appears to have a number of offers on the table if he cuts his contract with Bayern Munich. The 26-year-old has never really clicked at Bayern and would feel underrated at the club and therefore want to come out at the end of the season. There have been some fitness and form issues but the defender has stepped up since Julian Nagelsmann arrived and will be a good catch for whoever drops him.
Now in his tenth season at Tottenham, the Frenchman shows no signs of lowering standards and has likely been the club’s outstanding player in 2021. Lloris and his manager Antonio Conte have been shy about a new deal. for the 35-year-old, but Spurs are set to step up discussions in the new year. The Blues captain is ready to end his MLS career and might want a stint in his native south of France. Before that, he will surely want one last chance to win a trophy with his adopted club.
After a strange but not insignificant season at Tottenham, Bale has returned to the familiar position of Real Madrid’s outcast, and his next move is shrouded in mystery. The 32-year-old has played down talks about retirement after Euro and he won’t hang up his boots if Wales reach the World Cup in Qatar, making him an intriguing option as a free agent for someone. A money transfer to China is no longer an option, but maybe MLS or the Middle East could give it a try. Or how about a third spell at Spurs? The only prerequisite is a good golf course in the area.
He might just be the most wanted free agent this summer and is set to become the highest paid defender in world football. European giants are lining up for Chelsea center-back, who is reborn under Thomas Tuchel.
It is remarkable to think that he was seen as surplus to Frank Lampard’s demands, given his role in the club’s revival under Tuchel. Key to their Champions League triumph in May, he has arguably been the Premier League’s best defender in the calendar year.
Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are said to be willing to pay between Â£ 300,000 and Â£ 400,000 a week to get him away from Stamford Bridge. And do not rule out that an English rival also enters the tender.
The strong conviction within Chelsea is that the Dane will sign a new deal, despite protracted negotiations. But the longer he goes without committing his future at Stamford Bridge, the more nervous Chelsea fans will be.
He was exceptional under Tuchel and established himself as one of the best defenders in Europe over the 12 months. And as a free agent, it will be seriously tempting to welcome suitors at home and abroad.
The persistent delay in his contract has tested the patience of Tuchel, who does not usually get involved in such issues. But the Chelsea manager recently took the unusual step of calling Christensen and putting him on the bench. The hope for Chelsea is that he finally convinces him to sign on the dotted line.
The striker’s importance has grown in recent weeks after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was removed from his post as captain. Lacazette now wears the armband and leads the line for Arsenal, but he is still unlikely to sign a new contract. Instead, the 30-year-old is expected to leave for free this summer and he shouldn’t have a hard time finding a move.
A return to his childhood club, Lyon, has been hinted at, while Atletico Madrid are also a longtime admirer of the Frenchman. Arsenal could try to persuade Lacazette to sign a short-term extension with them, but it is believed he would prefer a long-term contract.
Angel Di Maria
It wasn’t until March that Paris-Saint Germain tried to tie Di Maria to a new deal, but here they are again. At the time, they were successful in persuading the winger to sign a one-year extension, with an option for an additional 12 months if both sides agreed. So far Di Maria and the club have not activated this and it has sparked interest from clubs across Europe.
The 33-year-old is still in impressive form, despite his age, and the fact that he can be signed for nothing next summer is appealing.