There’s set to be a whole host of leading Premier League names available as free agents at the end of the season, as contracts rapidly run down ahead of the summer transfer window.
We’ve compiled a best XI of the Premier League players who could walk away for nothing this summer.
Goalkeeper: David de Gea – Manchester United
Manchester United face a contract conundrum with David de Gea this summer, as the Spanish shot-stopper approaches the end of his deal at Old Trafford. Negotiations have taken place over an extension for De Gea, who has spent more than a decade as the club’s number one.
However, United opted against triggering the one-year extension option used on the likes of Marcus Rashford and Diogo Dalot, as the club looks to negotiate a new deal for De Gea on reduced terms. The Red Devils want to lower the wages of the club’s top-earner, given he will turn 33 next season.
🧤 De Gea pulling out the stops 🔥@ManUtd || #UEL pic.twitter.com/5nADUKjrzi
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) March 18, 2023
De Gea is no longer irreplaceable to United, but has been a solid presence for much of Erik ten Hag’s debut season. Given the priorities elsewhere in the side, a new deal would suit all parties for the short-term, despite the ongoing reservations about De Gea’s distribution and ability in possession. Brentford’s David Raya has been named as a potential replacement should De Gea depart this summer.
Right-back: Joel Veltman – Brighton
Joel Veltman has been one of Brighton’s best pieces of Premier League business, a model of consistency at the back since his £900,000 arrival from Ajax in 2020.
The 31-year-old’s versatility and reliability make him a valuable option in Roberto De Zerbi’s squad, though the Dutch defender could decide on a new challenge after three seasons at the Amex Stadium. Veltman’s departure could provide further opportunities for Tariq Lamptey as the 21-year-old looks to fulfil his potential.
A superb showing, @Joel_Veltman! 👏 pic.twitter.com/SqOa3wmn1N
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) March 16, 2023
Centre-back: Caglar Soyuncu – Leicester
Caglar Soyuncu suffered a sharp fall from grace at Leicester and will move on at the end of the season, with the centre-back having featured for just 79 minutes in the Premier League this season.
The defender was a fan favourite after breaking into the Foxes side in 2019/10, where his commanding performances earned the 26-year-old inclusion in the PFA Team of the Year. He won the FA Cup the following season, but endured a downturn in form and fell out of favour.
Soyuncu is set to move on and Atletico Madrid are believed to be closing in on a deal to sign the 52-cap Turkey international.
Centre-back: Yerry Mina – Everton
Yerry Mina is set to be available on a free transfer this summer, with the Colombia international having been plagued with fitness problems at Everton.
The 28-year-old arrived at Everton from Barcelona in 2018, having starred – scoring three goals – during Colombia’s World Cup campaign in Russia that summer.
He has struggled for consistent form or fitness in the Premier League and has made just three Premier League appearances this season, with Conor Coady, James Tarkowski, Michael Keane and Ben Godfrey all preferred at centre-back.
Left-back: Nelson Semedo – Wolves
Nelson Semedo has failed to live up to expectations at Wolves since his £30m arrival from Barcelona. The full-back was viewed as an exciting addition at Molineux but he has contributed just two goals and four assists in 98 appearances across all competitions.
That lack of end product has come alongside some unconvincing defensive performances and Semedo has been linked with a return to former side Benfica. Wolves possess an option to prevent an exit and to extend his deal for a further season.
Midfield: N’Golo Kante – Chelsea
N’Golo Kante is perhaps the biggest name in the Premier League’s free agency pool, with the midfielder’s future remaining undecided. Chelsea are keen to agree new terms with the 32-year-old, despite consistent injury problems in recent seasons.
The France international has made just two Premier League appearances this season due to a hamstring issue, but has recently returned to first-team action and is understood to be in negotiations over a new deal. Should terms not be agreed upon, expect a queue of clubs to be in for the serial winner.
N'Golo Kanté back in action with Chelsea's U-21s 💙 pic.twitter.com/GYvy5F0u9z
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 24, 2023
Midfield: Youri Tielemans – Leicester
Youri Tielemans appears destined to leave Leicester this summer and is sure to attract interest from leading clubs on a free.
The Belgium international has been a fan favourite over four-and-a-half seasons with the Foxes, in which he has exerted midfield control and scored a series of spectacular strikes – none more memorable than his 2021 FA Cup final winner against Chelsea.
Youri's bolt in blue ⚡ ⚡#WOLLEI pic.twitter.com/1thkPa0AMm
— Leicester City (@LCFC) October 23, 2022
Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Newcastle are just some of the clubs considering midfield additions this summer, each of who could take a keen interest.
Still just 25, and already owner of 58 caps at international level, interested clubs will save themselves a small fortune by securing a player of Tielemans’ quality on a free transfer.
Midfield: Ilkay Gundogan – Manchester City
The first signing of the Pep Guardiola era could leave Manchester City this summer, with Ilkay Gundogan increasingly expected to depart this summer.
Barcelona are interested in a deal to sign the German on a free transfer and Gundogan could decide on a new challenge after seven seasons of silverware success in the Premier League.
The 32-year-old has made 290 appearances for City and had a crucial role in the club’s title successes in 2021 and 2022, including a final brace off the bench to ensure the title remained at the Etihad last season.
He has won four titles among a long list of honours with the Citizens, but could become the latest cost-efficient addition at Barcelona as the club navigate economic issues. Arsenal have also been linked with a move, as Mikel Arteta looks to repeat the success of last summer’s raid on his former side that saw Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko head to north London.
Right-wing: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Liverpool
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is headed towards the exit door at Liverpool with no discussions understood to have taken place over a new deal for the midfielder.
The 29-year-old has struggled for form and favour since an encouraging first season at Anfield, mixing flashes of brilliance with time out of the side or on the treatment table.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has made just 15 league starts across the last three seasons and will move on this summer as Liverpool rebuild and repair their malfunctioning midfield. Brighton, Aston Villa and Newcastle have been linked with the 35-cap England international.
Naby Keita also looks likely to leave Liverpool, with no agreement on a new deal reached with the former £52m signing.
Left-wing: Wilfried Zaha – Crystal Palace
Could this be the summer that Wilfried Zaha leaves Crystal Palace?
Zaha’s value to Crystal Palace has often outweighed the figures interested clubs were prepared to pay in past windows, with Arsenal and Everton among the sides who have been frustrated in trying to prise the Ivorian from Selhurst Park.
Wilfried Zaha's first-team debut.
There's only one.#CPFC | @wilfriedzaha pic.twitter.com/XJm6q8L38X
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) March 27, 2023
Palace will be powerless this summer as Zaha approaches the end of his deal and, at 30, the forward could decide now is the time to test himself at a higher level. He has scored 31 goals across the last two-and-a-half Premier League seasons and an ability to operate across the front three will appeal to sides this summer.
Forward: Roberto Firmino – Liverpool
Roberto Firmino will leave Liverpool this summer after the 31-year-old decided not to extend his contract.
The Brazilian will depart after eight seasons of success on Merseyside, in which the forward has won six trophies and scored 108 goals, forming part of an iconic front three alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
A special moment for Bobby in front of the Kop ❤️ pic.twitter.com/XgKhZ0Tfga
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 6, 2023
The false nine of Jurgen Klopp’s successful side, he has been linked with the likes of Atletico Madrid and Juventus since his exit was confirmed. He will depart a Liverpool legend and with much to offer the side who next secures his services.
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