Next year marks the 25th anniversary of a ruling that would see a little known Belgian midfielder change the course of football forever. Jean-Marc Bosman’s fight for freedom of movement gave players greater power over their futures than ever before, with a series of high profile stars now moving on free transfers each season.
The Premier League is no different and there is a bumper crop of talent heading out of contract at the season’s end, all of whom could represent a bargain buy for any potential suitors.
We’ve decided to look at some of the best players in the final years of their contracts, with six quality Premier League players available on a free transfer next summer…
Christian Eriksen – Tottenham
The Danish international looks likely lead a summer exodus from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with the 27-year-old amongst a host of established names in Mauricio Pochettino’s squad who are not currently contracted beyond the end of the season.
Eriksen has publicly revealed his desire for a new challenge after just over six seasons in North London, the midfielder having previously been linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United.
The former Ajax star is believed to have his heart set on a move to Spain and the Bernabeu, where his vision and creativity would help bolster a midfield that is in need of a refresh. Hard-working and a regular provider of chances and assists, Eriksen is established amongst the finest playmakers in the Premier League and the opportunity to sign a player of his quality – in the prime of his career – does not often happen.
He is likely to have no shortage of suitors.
Toby Alderweireld – Tottenham
The second Tottenham player to feature on our list, Alderweireld’s future at the club has been a regular talking point throughout much of the past year. The Belgian international’s contract possessed a publicly reported £25m release clause this summer, though that was not activated despite much speculation.
The 30-year-old is believed to be targeting one last lucrative contract as he approaches the twilight of his career, though whether that will be at Tottenham remains to be seen. Alderweireld has formed part of a formidable Spurs backline since arriving four years ago, and despite the club’s struggles this season he remains an elite central defender.
Manchester United and Roma have both previously been linked, each of whom would be acquiring an experienced and top-class talent at a price well below his market value.
Long-term defensive partner Jan Vertonghen is also out of contract in the summer, as Tottenham’s defence looks in need of an overhaul.
All-time Belgian Premier League XI
David Silva – Manchester City
David Silva’s decade long stay at Manchester City will come to an end next summer, the diminutive Spaniard having announced he will leave the club at the expiry of his contract following a trophy-laden spell at the Etihad.
The 33-year-old is regarded by many as perhaps the club’s greatest ever player, having been a crucial part of ten major honours including four Premier League titles. The club captain has showcased in the early weeks of the campaign that he still has the class and quality to influence games at the very highest level, though it remains to be seen where his next career move will be.
Entering the final years of his career he could opt for a simpler challenge following a 15-year career in top-flight football, Silva previously admitting his desire to return to hometown club Las Palmas.
Japan could also be an option with several clubs linked, and whoever secures his signature will be acquiring a player who will undoubtedly be remembered as a Premier League great.
All-time Spanish Premier League XI
Willian – Chelsea
A popular figure at Stamford Bridge ever since his arrival at the club six years ago, this looks likely to be the Brazilian’s final season at Chelsea with no extension to his contract having been offered so far.
The emergence of Callum Hudson-Odoi and arrival of Christian Pulisic will likely see his role diminish, with his departure this summer perhaps suitable for all parties.
The 31-year-old has been part of two title-winning sides amongst five major honours, and despite his advancing years still offers pace and quality from wide areas. Willian has, however, ruled out a return to Brazil next summer and says he still has ambitions within European football as he seeks his next move.
Barcelona saw two bids to take him to La Liga rejected for him last summer and could return again.
All-time Brazilian Premier League XI
Ryan Fraser – Bournemouth
The Bournemouth winger enjoyed a stand-out campaign on the South Coast last season, with only Chelsea’s Eden Hazard providing more than Fraser’s 14 assists in the division.
Linked heavily with a move to Arsenal throughout the summer, Bournemouth opted to keep hold of the Scotland international though there appears to be no progress over a new deal for the 25-year-old.
Fraser has been coy when asked about his future, though there is a growing feeling that he will choose to leave the Vitality Stadium on a free transfer as he looks to make the next step in his career.
Everton are also reported to be interested as they look to add pace and penetration to the flanks, and the former Aberdeen player would make represent a smart pick-up for the majority of Premier League sides.
Adam Lallana – Liverpool
Once regarded as a key figure for both club and country, the Liverpool midfielder has endured a frustrating period over the past two seasons as he has struggled to maintain his fitness amid a succession of injury problems.
His injury record – Lallana has started just six Premier League games over the past two seasons – are a concern, though having returned to full fitness clubs will be able to monitor his progress throughout the rest of the campaign.
The 31-year-old is versatile, creative and technically gifted, and would provide a touch of quality to any Premier League midfield.
A popular figure with manager Jurgen Klopp and the playing group at Anfield, he could yet be offered a new deal at Liverpool. However, facing increased midfield competition from the likes of fit-again Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, he could choose to leave in search of regular first-team football after six seasons on Merseyside.
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