With the transfer market spiralling out of control, the art of the free transfer appears to be lost on some teams, however, the array of players with their contracts expiring in 2018 is the most star-studded in years.
Schalke’s Sead Kolasinac move to Arsenal may have been the most high-profile Bosman transfer this summer but if any of this XI fail to renew their current contracts, their moves could potentially steal the spotlight, next year.
Lionel Messi is, of course, the most high-profile right now, with no new contract agreed just yet the Argentine forward, in theory, could be the best player ever to move on a free transfer.
He isn’t alone, however, even outside this XI, there’s the likes of Andres Iniesta, Juan Mata, Jack Wilshere and Bernard who are all yet to renew their current deals.
The likes of Isco and Leon Goretzka are also technically still in the last years of their contracts at time of writing, but they’ve been omitted as Isco is expected to sign a new contract and Goretzka will most likely be joining Bayern Munich next summer.
GK: Michel Vorm (Tottenham Hotspur)
Mauricio Pochettino scoring a free-kick against Michel Vorm in training…
— Dugout (@Dugout) August 1, 2017
Although he’s been predominantly Spurs’ second string goalkeeper behind Hugo Lloris since signing from Swansea in 2014, at still only 33, the Dutch goalkeeper could still play a big role further down the Premier League.
Capped 15 times by the Netherlands and a League Cup winner with Swansea in 2013, Premier League clubs in need of a decent goalkeeper would be foolish not to give Vorm a chance on a free transfer.
RB: Juanfran (Atletico Madrid)
The Spanish right-back will also be 33 by the time his current contract with Atleti expires but that doesn’t mean he can’t play a vital role for someone else going forward.
Providing veteran experience, being a key part of Atleti’s recent success under Diego Simeone, winning the 2014 La Liga title and reaching 2014 and 2016 UEFA Champions League finals, Juanfran was also a key part of the Atleti team that conceded just 18 goals in 2015/16, playing all but three of the league fixtures that season.
CB: Stefan de Vrij (Lazio)
— Stefan de Vrij (@Stefandevrij) May 4, 2017
The subject of interest from Liverpool and Chelsea this summer, Lazio’s star centre-back was a big part of their qualification for this season’s UEFA Europa League after recovering from an injury-hit season the season prior.
Named in the 2014 FIFA World Cup All-Star Team, the Rome side will be hoping they can keep the Dutch defender, especially if he goes to a Premier League side for nothing.
CB: Jose Giminez (Atletico Madrid)
The 22-year-old Uruguayan hasn’t quite broken into Simeone’s first team plans quite yet, with Stefan Savic and Diego Godin remaining the first choice CB duo, however, he could still be the first choice elsewhere.
Capped 32 times by Uruguay already, both Arsenal and Manchester United have expressed interest in January but if they could afford to wait, they could pull off a major coup in the summer.
LB: Luke Shaw (Manchester United)
— ユナイテッド Vines (@sNabeshimaware4) September 8, 2017
The once world record teenager (albeit a record bettered by Manchester United in the same window for Anthony Martial), Shaw’s time at Old Trafford has been rather disappointing.
After struggling for fitness under Louis van Gaal when he joined and then suffering a nasty leg break against PSV in his second season, Shaw has hardly featured for United in his three seasons at the club, playing less league games in three seasons than he did in his final season at Southampton, and it doesn’t seem like he figures into Jose Mourinho’s plans.
Still only 22, Shaw has a lot of years ahead of him and plenty of time to show why so many clubs coveted him in 2014 before his move to United.
CM: Emre Can (Liverpool)
— AnfieldNation (@AnfieldNation) September 4, 2017
One of the more underrated players of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, Can has started the season brilliantly with two goals in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers and being at the heart of their 4-0 win against Arsenal.
Capable of playing a number of roles, the 23-year-old has really started to come into his own in the last few months but he could be available for nothing in just a few months time.
CM: Ross Barkley (Everton)
Contrary to a number of reports in the press, I did not undertake a medical with any club at any point.
— Ross Barkley (@RBarkley20) September 2, 2017
The Everton youth graduate so nearly signed for Chelsea on deadline day, instead opting to pull out of the deal at the last minute with a view to re-assessing his options in January after he returns from injury.
However, manager Ronald Koeman was very forthright with the fact that there was little chance that Barkley would be staying and with the boyhood Evertonian yet to even open any talks towards a new contract, he’ll probably be playing for a new club by summer 2018.
CAM: Mesut Özil (Arsenal)
Assists since Mesut Ozil joined the #EPL:
Ozil – 42
Silva – 34
Coutinho – 29
Eriksen – 40
Hazard – 24
'Stop talking and start supporting' pic.twitter.com/xr3aftoDXp
— now.arsenal (@nowarsenaI) September 3, 2017
One of many Arsenal players that could leave on a Bosman transfer next summer, the former club record signing has polarised opinion at the Emirates, with many believing him to be criminally underrated and his detractors saying he doesn’t put in enough effort.
It was rather odd that amongst the fire sale at Arsenal there seemed to be no concrete interest in the German World Cup winner, especially when in 2016 he equalled Thierry Henry’s record for Premier League assists in a season and still has much to offer as seen during international duty for Germany.
RW: Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)
Lionel Messi in the La Liga and UCL since 2010:
🗓 Games: 311
⚽ Goals: 332
🎯 Assists: 118
👏🏻 Chances created: 681
💥 Shots on target: 731 pic.twitter.com/1K5mEX1fHq
— FC Barcelona TV 🔵🔴 (@FC_BarcelonaTv) September 7, 2017
The most high-profile player on this list, rather shockingly the five-time FIFA Ballon D’or winner could be on his way out of Barcelona on a free transfer at the end of the season.
Messi, who’s been with the Catalan side since 2001 is still yet to sign a new contract (despite conflicting reports) and with the sale of Neymar to PSG showing that Barca are vulnerable to losing their star players, there’s nothing saying the Argentine forward won’t be playing away from the Nou Camp next season.
ST: Mario Balotelli (OGC Nice)
— Halkbet (@halkbet_eng) September 7, 2017
After a botched move to Liverpool and poor return to AC Milan on loan, the Italian striker finally rediscovered his form scoring 17 goals in 28 games for surprise packages Nice, last season – his best goalscoring season thus far.
Having probably burnt his bridges in England and Italy after being sold by Inter and AC Milan, Manchester City and Liverpool, even with this resurgence in form he may be short of options.
LW: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
— The Independent (@Independent) September 7, 2017
The transfer saga that looks set to rage on throughout the season, Arsenal’s inability to secure a new contract with Alexis Sanchez shows what a mess the club is in right now.
After scoring 30 goals in 51 games last season, the Gunners were clear they were not prepared to part with their talismanic forward, however, their resolve was tested late on in the summer and had they not been rejected by Monaco’s Thomas Lemar, Alexis would be a Manchester City player right now.
With no replacement and no signs of a new deal being agreed, it appears Alexis will be leaving the Emirates Stadium on a free transfer and he wont be short of suitors.