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The potential free agents of next summer

Monday 11th September 2017
This summer transfer window was an exciting one, but next years could take our breath away due to some huge names becoming free agents - if they don't agree a new deal before then, of course.

As it is known by all in the football world, a contract is just a formality, it can never hold down a player. Players can, and do leave clubs even after just agreeing to a long-term deal. Danny Drinkwater's recent transfer to Chelsea from Leicester attest to how ineffective a contract is in keeping a player. A player in the final year of his deal, therefore, is at higher risk of an exit.

Words are on the grapevine regarding the contract situation of several players at the moment, and here is a line-up of stars who could become a free agent if an extension is not signed before the end of the season.

Gianluigi Buffon



The 39-year-old shot-stopper's love for Juventus can never be questioned; his loyalty to the club is even more laudable. Buffon was one the very few star players who did not forsake the team after they got relegated to Serie B in 2006. But with his retirement drawing near and hope of winning the Champions League now surely lost, he could be tempted to open a new chapter in his career.

Juanfran

The Atletico Madrid defender, is yet to agree to an extension of his current deal. Now 32, the Spain international has lost some of the speed, strength and energy he is known for. Despite that, Juanfran would still be a quality addition to any top tier club in the major European leagues.

Jose Gimenez



The Uruguayan central defender has been a top target for several English teams for a while now, including the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs. In June this year, the player said that although he nurtures a desire to play in the Premier League, he would sign a life contract with Atletico if the offer comes his way.

Giorgio Chiellini

The vastly experienced Juventus defender, who also has a bachelor's degree in economics and Commerce, has been representing Juventus for the past thirteen years. He has never played outside the shores of Italy, but the top European clubs – and several clubs in the Major League Soccer too – will be keeping a close watch of his contract situation. You don't need to be an economist to know that getting Chiellini on a free is a major coup.



Daley Blind



The Dutchman has started at the left-back spot in three of Manchester United's Premier League games of this term. He also recorded two assists for the Netherlands in their 3-1 World Cup qualifying victory over Bulgaria in the previous weekend. But with the recuperating Luke Shaw on the verge of signing a new contract this week, Blind could lose his place in the team.

Mesut Ozil

After Arsenal's humiliating 4-0 experience at Anfield – not to mention months of being criticised by several ex-Arsenal players – the Grman international entreats the former Gunners to show more support to the team. But Ozil's unwillingness to sign a new deal exposes just how committed he is to the the club. It is not hard to envisage him heading for the exit doors in the near future.

Isco



Real Madrid's newest homegrown midfielder rose to prominence in the 2016-17 season, playing a bit part role. The 25-year-old is yet to recommit his future to the club despite his exemplary form. If he becomes a free transfer target next summer, there will be no shortage of suitors for his signature.

Andres Iniesta



Andres Iniesta is one of those players difficult to imagine playing for another club. Alongside Xavi Hernandez and the late Johan Cruyff, Iniesta has fully adopted the ethos and style of FC Barcelona and made it his. But in May, he made a heartbreaking statement: “it's possible that I won't retire at Barcelona. I'm still thinking about whether I should renew my contract or not.”

Arjen Robben



Of all the players on this line-up, Arjen Robben is arguably the most exposed. The Bayern Munich winger has a record with most of the European side, having played for the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea and PSV among others. That said, his time with Bayern will count nine years come next summer. It would be look odd seeing him play for a different club.

Lionel Messi

As the endless comparison between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo still occurs, Ronaldo is ahead in one respect. Namely, the Portuguese has played successfully in another top European league. This will always be a mar on Messi's portfolio unless he moves out of Catalonia, and with Barca having lost their excellence, the 30-year-old may well seek to end his career at another entity.

 

Alexis Sanchez



If you have followed the happenings in the football world in recent weeks – you would know that Alexis Sanchez is frustrated at the Emirates. His inability to leave a regressing Arsenal for Pep Guardiola's over-ambitious Manchester City this summer will be a source of anguish to the Chilean. A move next summer will come as no surprise.
Adebayo Temitope

Temitope, an ardent soccer fan. I may be based in Lagos but I watch as much European football as I can. I've been writing about football for several years, before I joined IRIAW you may have seen my work on The Football Weeks. I'm also a keen music fan


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