Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Mesut Ozil, Sergio Aguero, David Alaba, Jesse Lingard, Angel Di Maria and Olivier Giroud headline a long list of football stars set to leave on free transfers in 2021. Who would you take at your club?
2020 has been filled with many uncertainties in the world of football, and it appears it will spread into the coming year, especially regarding player contracts, free transfers and the fast-spreading virus.
The pandemic still threatens, and although the Premier League has assured fans it has no plans to close, the overwhelming new cases and postponement of matches suggest otherwise.
However, away from that, a handful of quality and world class players will run out of contract in 2021. Some of these players have been largely maligned in their clubs, while a few have quite simply, refused to put pen to paper on fresh terms.
As from January, players whose contracts will expire in the summer are allowed to sign a pre-contract agreement with other clubs and leave when the contract ends.
Amongst the group of players winding down their contract is Argentine wizard, Lionel Messi. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has had a topsy-turvy year with the Spanish giants and looked set to leave in the summer.
However, due to changes in the backroom staff, headlined by the resignation of former President, Josep Bartomeu, Messi agreed to stay. Nevertheless, it may not be for long with Manchester City and Paris St. Germain reportedly very interested.
Lionel Messi has talked up the chances of linking up with his former boss, Pep Guardiola in Manchester. The pair won many trophies together, and the Barca captain has labelled him as the best coach he has played under, followed closely by Luis Enrique.
Messi could start speaking with clubs from tomorrow, January 1st, 2021 and the possibilities scare Barcelona fans worldwide. Will he leave or could he stay? 2021 will tell us. His wages will also prove to be a barrier to any club as he earns almost $700,000 weekly.
Would you take Messi at your club?
Ozil has had a torrid few months with Arsenal. Reports claimed he fell out of favour with the current boss, Mikel Arteta. Some other reports have suggested him speaking out against the suffering of Uighur Muslims in China and lashing out at Arsenal for not supporting him is the reason why he has been dropped.
Whatever the reason, it is clear that Mesut Ozil still has a few years left in him. He is also the club’s highest-paid player, raking in upwards of 350,000 pounds weekly. His contract winds up in June 2021 and with Arsenal needing a lot of creativity, would he sign a new deal or go. If he does leave, where could he end up? Reports are suggesting Turkey could be his next stop.
The Real Madrid captain will also be available for free transfer in 2021. Ramos has developed a reputation for getting new deals whenever interest in his service is high. Is this another of his many ploys? He still looks like he has something to offer.
Another Argentine who looks likely to leave is Sergio Aguero. The Manchester City forward has struggled with injury this season, and this looks like his last season with the Mancunian giants. He has been linked with a return to his country.
Whatever happens, he will leave as City legend.
Angel Di Maria
Yet another Argentine. Where next for the former Manchester United player? He is out of contract in the summer.
Alaba has drummed up interest from Manchester United and other top clubs. He will be available for free in the summer, but his wages may be a problem. At the age of 28, the Austrian with Nigerian descent still has a lot to offer.
Although he has struggled with injury of late, Lingard has found himself on the fringes lately, and with his contract winding up, he could be set to leave his childhood club.
He has been linked with moves to Italy. There are also reported interests in England.
Another player with links to Manchester United. Depay was close to joining Barcelona last summer, but a move failed after United failed to agree on a deal to sign Ousmane Dembele.
It is no secret that he wants to leave Lyon and he could get his wish next summer or earlier. As his contract ends soon, reports claim he could be allowed to leave for as low as 4.5million Pounds. Would you take him to your club?
Other players who can leave on free transfers in 2021 include:
Gini Wijnaldum (reportedly close to agreeing on a new deal) – Liverpool
Arkadiusz Milik – Napoli
Julian Draxler – Paris St. Germain
Olivier Giroud (former Arsenal striker in good form) – Chelsea
Johnny Evans – Leicester City
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – AS Roma
Hakan Calhanoglu (linked with Manchester United transfer) – AC Milan
Jerome Boateng – Bayern Munich
Shkodran Mustafi – Arsenal
Gianluigi Donnarumma – AC Milan
Eric Garcia (linked with a move to Barcelona last summer, could be going there in the summer) – Manchester City
Florian Thauvin – Marseille
All the above have their contracts winding up in 2021. As they will be free to start speaking with clubs from first January, who do you reckon can improve your club? Who should your manager go for?
Although their contracts are up soon, most of these players are on mammoth wages. The current pandemic’s impact has changed the way clubs operate, and they are now actively looking for ways to cut their budget.
This is why most clubs could let their star men go in the coming summer whether their contract is ending or not. Any bids for high-earning players will receive serious considerations as clubs try their possible best to balance the books.