Transfers

Out of contract in 2020: Football's best free agents at the end of next season

 • by Adam Newson
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Every summer there are a number of high-profile footballers who become free agents. Yet the number of stars out of contract in 2020 is as surprising as it is rare.

From the Premier League to Serie A, La Liga to the Bundesliga, a range of household names can walk away from their respective clubs for nothing when the 2019/20 campaign draws to a close.

And as free agents, these players can command bigger salaries and significant signing on bonuses.

We have already reviewed the biggest stars who will become free agents this summer but we at Football Whispers have jumped ahead 12 months to identify the big-name players who are out of contract in 2020.

 

Premier League – Best free agents in 2020

David de Gea

The Manchester United goalkeeper is actually out of contract this summer, however, United have a one-year option which they will trigger in the coming weeks.

That will, however, not clear up De Gea’s future. The Spain international reportedly wants parity with Alexis Sánchez’s £5000,000-a-week if he is to sign a new deal at Old Trafford.

United are unwilling to match that figure. And that could mean one of the world’s best goalkeepers is available on a free transfer in the summer of 2020.

Christian Eriksen

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is viewed as one of the best, and most difficult, negotiators in football. But he will face a difficult decision over the future of the Danish playmaker.

Eriksen is a Real Madrid transfer target and Los Blancos are reportedly willing to pay big money to bring him to the Bernabeu ahead of the 2019/20 season.

Yet if a deal can’t be struck, expect Eriksen to walk away from Spurs for nothing at the end of his contract in 2020.

Willian

There are few players in the Premier League as frustrating as the Brazilian winger. His talent isn’t in doubt, it’s just he does surprisingly little to affect games on a weekly basis.

He has played almost 300 games for Chelsea since joining the club in 2013 yet has only just broken the 50-goal barrier.

It’s why the Blues haven’t tied Willian down to a long-term contract and, given their policy of offering players in their 30s one-year deals, it’s likely he’ll leave for nothing at the end of the 2019/20 campaign.

Ilkay Gündogan

The German was Pep Guardiola’s first signing at Manchester City and the Catalan is keen to ensure the midfielder remains at the Etihad Stadium for the foreseeable future.

“We want him to extend his contract right now,” Guardiola said earlier in the season. “But if he doesn’t want to, we cannot do anything else.”

Gündogan has said he is relaxed about his contract situation. But if City can’t agree a new deal with the Germany international, they risk losing him for free in a little over a year.

Gündoğan

Toby Alderweireld

For the past two years, there has been much speculation about the future of the Tottenham centre-back. A long-term Manchester United transfer target, Spurs have managed to keep the Belgian at the club but haven’t been able to sign him up to a new contract.

And that is a problem. This summer Alderwerield is available for a knockdown price of £25million. Yet if no club is willing to pay that fee, which is admittedly an unlikely scenario, then the 30-year-old would be able to leave on a free transfer in July 2020.

Jan Vertonghen

Spurs triggered an option in the Belgian defender’s contract last year keeping him at the club until the summer of 2020. Yet his future beyond that is uncertain.

Vertonghen will be 33 years old by the end of his current deal and, while he has shown no signs that his powers are beginning to wane, Spurs are unlikely to pay him big money given he will have no sell-on value.

Another one-year extension may prove a smart move by Spurs, however, there haven’t been any reports that the club are prepared to stop Vertonghen leaving for nothing next summer.

Eric Bailly

The Ivorian centre-back impressed during his first season with Manchester United but has struggled with injuries and a lack of form in the past 18 months.

He is no longer first-choice at Old Trafford and the 24-year-old has attracted interest from clubs in Spain and also rival Premier League sides, including Arsenal and Tottenham.

Given his age and talent, Bailly won’t be short of suitors if he were to run down his contract at United. And he would be guaranteed a big signing on fee were he to do so.

David Silva

The Spanish midfielder remains one of the Premier League’s most graceful, intelligent and best players. However, Silva has already admitted he is likely to leave Manchester City at the end of next season.

“When I finish my contract with Manchester City I will be 34 years old, at that time I will probably want to do something different,” he said in 2018. “I don’t know yet but I won’t play for another club in England.”

He will depart the Etihad a legend and, unlike most on this list, wouldn’t be taking a step into the unknown. Silva has always maintained he’d like to finish his career in his native Gran Canaria. Expect to see him join Las Palmas ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.

Pedro

Signed from Barcelona in 2015, the Spanish winger has proven effective for Chelsea. He hasn’t, much like Willian, though, been a consistent matchwinner at Stamford Bridge.

It’s why he is expected to leave Chelsea at the end of his contract. Christian Pulisic’s arrival will push the 31-year-old further down the Blues’ pecking order and a return to Spain is likely.

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Yet another Chelsea winger out of contract in 2020… and this one may prove the most costly for the Blues.

Hudson-Odoi has, despite his limited minutes under Maurizio Sarri, proven himself as one of the most exciting young players in Europe.

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He combines pace, skill and end product and won’t even peak for several seasons.

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund Manchester United and Liverpool have all been linked with moves for Hudson-Odoi. But Chelsea are insistent the teenager won’t leave and are ready to risk losing him for nothing in just over a year’s time.

Fernandinho

Described by Guardiola as “one of the best three holding midfielders in the world” last year, the Brazilian has become a vital part of Manchester City’s side.

He is the fulcrum through which attacks are started and, very often, opposition counters are halted. However, he will be 35 years old when his contract comes to an end in the summer of 2020 and there haven’t yet been talks about extending that deal.

 

Serie A – Best free agents in 2020

 

Giorgio Chiellini

When the Italian’s current contract comes to an end, he will be 35 years old. However, that doesn’t mean Chiellini still has several years left at the top, just look at teammate Andrea Barzagli, for example.

It’s difficult to see the centre-back anywhere else but Juventus in the twilight of his career. But that is what many thought about Gianluigi Buffon who opted to quit the club for Paris Saint-Germain last summer.

If Chiellini does decide to leave Juventus in the summer of 2020, he wouldn’t be short of potential suitors.

Blaise Matuidi

Another Juventus star who will become a free agent next summer is the French midfielder, who has become a key part of the side following his move from PSG in 2017.

Matuidi may be in his thirties but he still has the energy to break up opposition attacks and perform in a box-to-box role. There is plenty of competition for places in midfield at Juventus and if the Serie A champions no longer need the French midfielder, plenty of other clubs will gladly take him.

Dries Mertens

Under Maurizio Sarri, the Belgian blossomed into one of Serie A’s most ruthless forwards. This term, though, he has been less effective under Carlo Ancelotti which may explain why Napoli have yet to hold talks over a new contract.

“For now we have not talked about it but I’m 31. Maybe someone forgets it because I look younger, but now I’m an old man,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport earlier in the campaign.

Napoli are a club which operates smartly in the transfer market. So their decision not to speak with Mertens about a new deal suggests he will be sold this summer.

Stephan El Shaarawy

Il Faraone (The Pharaoh) has rebuilt his career at Roma over the past four seasons after falling out of favour at Milan.

El Shaarawy has struggled a little with injuries this term but has struck nine goals in 24 appearances and the club are ready to hand him a new long-term deal.

Stephan El Shaarawy, Roma

However, at 26 years old, the winger may feel it wise to hold off and see what offers are on the table, either this summer or the next.

Edin Džeko

The Roma striker has been linked with a number of clubs in Serie A and the Premier Leauge and could leave the Italian capital this summer.

Roma apparently will demand a fee of around £10million for the Bosnian, which given his age is certainly steep. It’s why interested sides may decide to wait a year in order to sign Džeko, even if he does turn 34 years old next year.

José Callejón

The Spanish winger was close to leaving Napoli last summer with both Milan and Chelsea interested. But he opted to stay in the south of Italy and has been a regular under Ancelotti this term.

Stories surfaced in August that Napoli would offer the 32-year-old a new deal yet at the time of writing nothing has been signed.

Both club and player may wish to reevaluate their options this summer as Callejón’s next contract is likely to be his last big-money deal.

Moise Kean

Much has been expected of the striker since he made his debut for Juventus as a 16-year-old. And this season Kean, who is still only 19, has started to make an impact at the Allianz Stadium.

He struck twice against Udinese in March and then netted the winner against Empoli later that month. Juventus want to tie the Italian international, who has been dubbed the new Cristiano Ronaldo, to a new contract which runs until 2024.

Kean is expected to sign the deal but given his agent is Mino Raiola, it is far from a given and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if the youngster ends up becoming a free agent in 2020.

 

Ligue 1 – Best free agents in 2020

 

Nabil Fekir

Had things worked out a little differently, Fekir would be a Liverpool player. Yet the club pulled out of a deal last summer and the attacking midfielder remained at Lyon.The big question is how much longer he stays in Ligue 1.

Nabil Fekir, Lyon

Fekir will turn 26 years old in July and OL have one final opportunity to extract a big fee for the France international.

If no club is willing to match their valuation, Fekir could become one of the most sought after free agents in the summer of 2020.

Edinson Cavani

Paris Saint-Germain’s all-time top scorer admits retirement is a serious option when his contract expires next summer.

Cavani explained in January: “Right now, I am playing towards the end of my contract and possibly my career. I will be 33 going on 34 when it is up. I do not know if I will continue after 2020 and if it will be in Paris. I feel good here, though, & I want to see my deal out.”

Over the past decade, the Uruguayan has established himself as one of the best strikers in Europe. If he runs his deal down in Paris and decides to keep on playing, he will not be short of suitors.

Thomas Meunier

At Paris Saint-Germain, the Belgian has to battle for playing time against Dani Alves and Thilo Kehrer. He has only made 16 starts in Ligue 1 this term, and only 24 in all competitions.

And yet, he is very happy at the Parc des Princes. “I really love the city and the club,” he said in March. “The probability, at the beginning of my career, was 0.0001 per cent that I play one day for PSG. So I have no reason to complain in reality.”

Meunier may be happy at the club but the Ligue 1 champions have yet to offer him a new deal. There would be countless clubs interested in the 27-year-old if he became available on a free.

Thiago Silva

The Brazilian centre-back and PSG captain remains a consistent performer in defence. Yet Silva accepts his time at the club will be up when his contract ends in 2020.

“I must continue to work hard to help my team-mates,” he explained in 2018. “Competition always exists in football. All things said. I have two years left on my contract and after that, I will hand over to somebody else.”

Silva will be 35 years old when his deal comes to an end and it’s likely he will head back to his native Brazil. However, there would be several clubs in Europe willing to give the defender a swansong season.

 

La Liga – Best free agents in 2020

 

Luka Modrić

The Ballon d’Or winning midfielder was keen to leave Real Madrid for Inter in the summer of 2018 but the Spanish club blocked his departure and he remained at the Bernabéu.

However, interest from Italy remains and if Modrić doesn’t leave Los Blancos at the end of the current campaign, it’s likely he’ll depart at the end of the 2019/20 season for nothing.

Luka Modric, Passing sonar

Keylor Navas

Navas was expected to leave Real Madrid this summer after losing his place in the starting XI to Thibaut Courtois. But the return of Zinedine Zidane has given the Costa Rican goalkeeper a lifeline.

The French coach trusts Navas, who was his No.1 for Real’s three consecutive Champions League triumphs. So it would be no surprise to see Navas sign a new deal with Real in the coming months.

If he doesn’t, Los Blancos will either sell or accept the 31-year-old leaving for nothing in July 2020.

Stefan Savić

During his four years in the Spanish capital, the Montenegro international has proven himself an able, if not always consistent, performer for Diego Simeone’s side. And with the sale of Lucas Hernandez to Bayern Munich, and anticipated departure of Diego Godin, Atlético Madrid need Savić next season more than ever.

Yet contract talks haven’t begun and that could mean Savić is sold this summer at a knockdown price. If Atleti are unable to move him on, then they risk losing the centre-back for nothing next year.

 

Bundesliga – Best free agents in 2020

 

Timo Werner

The versatile striker has blossomed into one of the best in the Bundesliga since joining RB Leipzig in 2016, but his time at the club looks set to come to an end in the next 12 months.

Werner has been linked with several sides across Europe, including Bayern Munich and Liverpool. No deal has been struck for the 23-year-old by Leipzig’s head coach and sporting director Ralf Rangnick insists the German international’s future will be sorted this summer.

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“A club like us cannot afford to go with Timo Werner in a final contract year,” he said.

It suggests a sale is likely at the end of the current campaign. The big question mark is over which club best suits the striker.

Mario Götze

Once touted as the “German Messi”, Götze was seemingly set for stardom after joining Bayern Munich and then, a year later, scoring the goal which clinched the World Cup for his country.

However, due to a metabolic illness, the creative midfielder has struggled for top form since that goal against Argentina in 2014. Götze is now back at Dortmund, where his career began, but he is no longer a regular starter.

However, Dortmund CEO, Michael Zorc, says BVB would like to keep the 26-year-old at the club beyond 2020. “We’ll sit down together in due course,” Zorc told Kicker in February.

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