With most European Leagues ending in the next two weeks, it is time to take a peak ahead to this summer’s transfer window and look at some of the players will be out of contract and able to leave on a free transfer. Bosman transfers used to be restricted to players near the end of their playing career, but this summer’s crop includes a surprising number who are either in their prime, or at yet to reach it.
Sami Khedira: Age 28 Position Midfielder Club Real Madrid
Arguably the most high-profile player whose contract is up this summer, Khedira has scarcely featured for the Spanish giants this season after it became clear that he would play the second part of 2015 elsewhere. Predominantly a defensive midfielder, the imposing German also participates constructively in the buildup phase. The World Cup winner from last summer has been strongly linked with return to Germany, but would be perfect for Arsenal.
James Milner: Age 29 Position Midfielder Club Manchester City
Perhaps surprisingly has being able to run down his contract at Manchester City, having been among the club’s best players this season and establishing himself as something of a fans’ favourite at Eastlands. Respected for his industry, versatility and professionalism, the England international will be an asset to whichever top club, Arsenal and Liverpool seem to be the front runners, ends up signing him.
André Ayew: Age 25 Position Forward Club Marseille
The son of the Marseille legend Abedi “Pelé” has enjoyed an impressive season in Ligue 1, finding the net 10 times and supplying six assists in his club’s fight for a Champions League spot. The pacy left-footed winger or second striker is a self-declared Liverpool fan and has made it clear that a move to the Premier League is his No1 priority this summer.
Sergio Romero: Age 28 Position Goalkeeper Club Sampdoria
Curiously, the temperamental Argentina No1 has featured more for his country – including a World Cup final – than at club level over the past two seasons, yet Romero should have no problems finding a new employer this summer. An aggressive goalkeeper with excellent reflexes, he still needs to improve his footwork.
Dani Alves: Age 32 Position Right-back Club Barcelona
Having failed to agree a new deal with the Catalans, the Brazilian with nearly 400 La Liga appearances to his name, and considered by many the best right-back over the past decade, is said to be attracting interest from Manchester United. Even though he is somewhat past his prime, I find it stunning that Barcelona would let Alves go, especially when they cannot go out and sign a replacement this summer.
André-Pierre Gignac: Age 29 Position Striker Club Marseille
The Frenchman has been perennially watched by Premier League clubs without anyone being convinced enough to pay the required amount for the agile and opportunistic centre-forward. A no-brainer signing for Sam Allardyce during his Bolton days, the runner-up top scorer of Ligue 1 might finally secure a move to a mid- to lower-half Premier League side this summer.
Ignazio Abate: Age 28 Position Right-back Club Milan
Though the Italy international is expected to sign a new deal with Milan, the negotiations appear to be moving along slowly because of the ownership question – let alone who will be the head coach next season – at the once successful club. The quick, hardworking right-back has been one of the few Milan players who can look back on the current season with any sense of pride.
Marcell Jansen: Age 29 Position Winger/full-back Club Hamburg
As a part of cost-cutting measures at the relegation-threatened German club, the left-winger turned full-back is not going to be staying beyond this summer. Despite 45 caps for Germany, his injury record – he has picked up semi-serious muscle injuries during most recent seasons in his career – might deter some potential interested parties from offering a long-term contract.
Ron Vlaar: Age 30 Position Centre-half Club Aston Villa
With most Premier League clubs desperate to bolster the heart of their defence, the Dutchman is likely to be picking and choosing from a fine variety of offers. Experienced, solid and a recognised leader, Vlaar could emerge as a safe acquisition for one of the top clubs, unless Tim Sherwood convinces him to sign a new deal.
Neto: Age 25 Position Goalkeeper Club Fiorentina
Locked for months in unsuccessful contract negotiations with Fiorentina, the Brazilian seems set to capitalise on his Bosman status this summer. A flamboyant and slightly extrovert goalkeeper with impressive reflexes, he has inevitably been linked with Liverpool in the past, although Juventus are reported to be his most likely destination.
Nigel de Jong: Age 30 Position Midfielder Club Milan
Even though the combative Dutch midfielder has struggled in a disgracefully poor Milan side this season, it is worth remembering that De Jong – a Premier League champion with Manchester City in 2012 – still looked useful in last summer’s World Cup and has found his previously worrying injury record improve significantly. With the juicy tackle still appreciated by many British managers, De Jong should have no problems finding another club in the Premier League.
Carlos Zambrano: Age 25 Position Centre-half Club Eintracht Frankfurt
The no-nonsense Peruvian centre-back has resurrected a faltering Bundesliga career after initially being discarded by Schalke 04. His slightly on-the-edge playing style makes him prone to rough challenges and getting involved in the odd scrap. While a renewed deal with his current club is the most likely scenario, an impressive Copa América campaign may earn him even more attractive options.
Danny Ings: Age 23 Position Striker Club Burnley
Despite enjoying a respectable campaign with relegated Burnley, there’s still some doubt as to whether Ings is ready to make the jump to a top four club, or whether he should be content for now with a move to a mid-table team. He has been linked with a move to Liverpool for months now, although it would not be surprising if Manchester United tried to snatch him away from their biggest rivals.
Michael Lang: Age 24 Position Right-back Club Grasshoppers
A member of the Swiss World Cup squad last summer, the right-back – who can also deputise as a centre-back or defensive midfielder – is currently attracting interest from several Ligue 1 and Bundesliga clubs – though a full-back with good aerial ability might also come in handy for a newly-promoted Premier League side.
Stefan Strandberg: Age 24 Position Defender Club Rosenborg
Another option for the budget-conscious, the Norwegian centre-back is determined to carry on his career abroad after previous prospective moves hit unexpected snags. Good on the ball, an intelligent reader of the game and calm in possession, the former Under-21 national team captain has also been capped three times at senior level.
Who do you think is the best player available on a free transfer this summer?