We’re fast approaching the end of the European season and the transfer market will soon open for business, as clubs across the continent look to strengthen their squads.
Free agency has become an integral part of the recruitment plans for clubs and this summer there is a whole host of high-profile names available for nothing and with their futures still undecided.
Ahead of the summer window, we’ve decided to look at the state of play regarding free agents in Europe’s major leagues.
Chelsea look set to be the most impacted Premier League club as a result of free agent departures, with key defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen set to leave Stamford Bridge for Spain.
Rudiger has agreed a deal with Real Madrid, whilst Christensen will join AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie in moving to Barcelona as a free agent this summer.
There is also set to be an exodus at Manchester United with Paul Pogba among the most high-profile free agents of the window, a decision yet to be made on his future with PSG, Real Madrid and Juventus all interested.
Paul Pogba has rejected an offer to join Manchester City this summer, with Juventus, Real Madrid and PSG all interested, The Athletic reports 💭 pic.twitter.com/iCQPmHtWml
— GOAL (@goal) May 9, 2022
Jesse Lingard will also attract suitors after a frustrating spell at Old Trafford and the 29-year-old – who has started just two league fixtures this season – has been linked with West Ham, Tottenham, Newcastle and a host of foreign sides.
Brentford are hopeful that Christian Eriksen will extend his short-term deal with the Bees, though Liverpool cult hero Divock Origi is likely to move on from Anfield.
There is also strong Premier League interest in Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah, who is yet to agree new terms with the Gunners despite his recent run in the side.
Alexandre Lacazette and James Tarkowski are among the other leading names who are available on free transfers this summer.
Barcelona remain locked in contract negotiations with Ousmane Dembele, following a remarkable return to prominence for the winger.
Having looked destined to move on in the January transfer window, the France international has been a player reborn under Xavi with his 13 assists a league-leading total in Spain despite missing 16 matches of the season through injury.
After two assists in Barcelona's win against Celta Vigo, Ousmane Dembélé leads La Liga in assists with 13 this season 🎁
He's missed 16 games 🤯 pic.twitter.com/AHb9JuNwJq
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 10, 2022
Barcelona’s financial issues complicate negotiations, with a number of Premier League clubs and Paris Saint-Germain said to be monitoring developments.
There is several senior names expected to leave Real Madrid this summer, including Gareth Bale – who has been linked with MLS – Isco and Marcelo. Luka Modric is expected to pen an extension, however, following another impressive season from the evergreen midfielder.
Across the rest of the division, Luis Suarez’s future is unclear as he nears the end of his deal at Atletico Madrid, whilst another former Premier League name in Adnan Januzaj is yet to agree new terms at Real Sociedad despite an extended period of negotiations.
German football is rather quieter when it comes to high-profile free agents this summer with perhaps the most notable, Niklas Sule, having already agreed a switch from Bayern Munich to Borussia Dortmund.
Florian Grillitsch is one name who has been a constant among the transfer rumours, with the Austrian international viewed as a potential midfield target for Arsenal according to various reports.
Wishing you all the best, Grillo 👋
Florian #Grillitsch will leave #TSG at the end of the season after five years at the club. Before kickoff against Bayer, Director of Football Alexander Rosen and Managing Director Frank Briel bid Grillo farewell in front of our own fans 🤝 pic.twitter.com/qcx1slCYPx
— TSG Hoffenheim EN (@tsghoffenheimEN) May 7, 2022
The 26-year-old is set to leave Hoffenheim at the end of his contract and could add depth to the Gunners options in the engine room.
Dan-Axel Zagadou is another who will appeal to Premier League sides with the Borussia Dortmund centre-back set to be pushed down the pecking order ahead of the impending arrivals of Sule and Nico Schlotterbeck at the Westfalenstadion.
Serie A possesses an eclectic and exciting mix of upcoming free agents, from the usual set of veterans to a number of names at the peak of their powers.
Franck Kessie is set to leave AC Milan for Barcelona, but the futures of several stars – including Paulo Dybala, Andrea Belotti and Alessio Romagnoli – are yet to be decided.
Dybala has been a past target for Manchester United and Tottenham and it has been confirmed the Argentine will leave Juventus, though Inter Milan are interested in a deal to keep the 28-year-old in Serie A.
🇮🇹 Where will these big-name out-of-contract players from Serie A be playing next season?
Franck Kessie (AC Milan) 🔜❓
Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan) 🔜❓
Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus) 🔜❓
Paulo Dybala (Juventus) 🔜❓
Andrea Belotti (Torino) 🔜❓ pic.twitter.com/HXgAoJ5fvX
— Transfer News Central (@TransferNewsCen) May 10, 2022
Belotti also looks set to move on when his contract expires at Torino and the 28-year-old, who has scored 113 goals in 249 appearances for the Turin side, will appeal to sides across the continent. Newcastle and West Ham are among those to have been linked with the Italy international.
AC Milan are also likely to lose club captain Romagnoli as the defender considers a new challenge, having lost the likes of Gianluigi Donnarumma, Hakan Çalhanoğlu and Kessie on free transfers in recent windows. Lazio have been linked with the centre-back, as have Barcelona.
Kylian Mbappe leads the upcoming free agents in Ligue 1, with the saga surrounding his future expected to reach its conclusion in the coming weeks.
Recent reports have suggested the Paris Saint-Germain star is considering signing a new deal in Paris, though it would be a remarkable u-turn from the 23-year-old to put pen to paper on an extension in the final weeks of his existing deal.
All roads appear to lead to Real Madrid for Mbappe, after the Spanish side saw several bids turned down by PSG last summer.
Kylian Mbappé’s camp and Real Madrid will have new contacts next week. There’s still no decision made but Real sources feel confident and relaxed on this deal, as always. 🇫🇷 #RealMadrid
Paris Saint-Germain proposal has been improved few days ago – and it’s still on the table. https://t.co/eFAyohobX2
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 8, 2022
Mbappe has continued his ascent to a status as the world’s finest footballer this season and is heading towards a fourth consecutive leading scorer accolade in Ligue 1, with his 35 goals in all competitions having fired PSG to another domestic title.
Mbappe has scored 115 goals in 140 league appearances for PSG and his signing on a free transfer looks set to be one of the great modern coups for Real Madrid.
Elsewhere, Boubacar Kamara has been linked with various Premier League clubs after failing to agree new terms at Marseille, with the versatile midfielder said to be interesting Manchester United, Aston Villa, Leeds and Crystal Palace, among others.
Ex-Premier League names Jason Denayer (Lyon) and Angel Di Maria (PSG) are also set to become free agents with the latter linked with Juventus after a glittering career in the French capital.