As the Premier League enters its final strait for another season, focus is already turning to what business may be done in the transfer window. Coronavirus has hit the football world hard, and we’re gearing up to see a transfer window like no other.
As well as bringing in new players, clubs will also have to look to make decisions on existing players who have limited time left on their current deals. And some of the Premier League’s finest have their contracts expiring at the end of the 2021 season.
And those whose deals are running down come in all shapes and sizes – from wizened veterans to disgruntled stars entering their prime.
Here are the Premier League’s best XI players available on a free transfer in 2021.
Liverpool FC v Atletico Madrid – UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
Adrian (Liverpool) – £4 million
Adrian ended up being a surprising and yet incredibly crucial signing for Liverpool this season. His current contract expires with the Reds in 2021.
Even though the 33-year-old goalkeeper was hardly going to displace the omnipresent Alisson Becker, he did an excellent job of deputising following the Brazilian’s injury at the very beginning of the campaign.
Adrian has played ten Premier League games so far, conceding nine goals and keeping two clean sheets in the process as well. Not to mention his display against Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup back in August when the Reds ended up winning on penalties with Adrian between the sticks.
Center Back: Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) – £12 million
The Germany international has struggled to make an impact since moving to the Emirates Stadium in a big-money transfer in 2016 and was heavily linked with a departure. This season, he has made eight appearances for the side in all competitions, the majority of which have come in the Carabao Cup and Europa League.
Center Back: Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Arsenal) – £14.5 million
Sokratis joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in July 2018 for just under £18 million. So far in 2019-20, the Greece international has made 18 appearances in the English top flight, but he has not made it on to the pitch in any of the Gunners’ last five Premier League games.
Center Back: Dejan Lovren (Liverpool) – £16 million
Lovren has been used as a rotation option at the back this season, infrequently partnering Virgil van Dijk at the heart of Liverpool’s defence, but he has made just one Premier League appearance since the turn of the year – a start in the shock 3-0 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road.
Manchester United v Newcastle United – Premier League
Central Defensive Midfielder: Eric Dier (Tottenham) – £20 million
Dier is reportedly reluctant to commit to a new deal due to his playing time decreasing drastically under Jose Mourinho. Dier has not managed to start a Premier League game since before Christmas, despite being a former favourite of Mourinho, and wants assurances over his future before signing on the dotted line.
Central Midfielder: Paul Pogba (Manchester United) – £80 million
Pogba has linked with a move away from Manchester United for the longest time, and he doesn’t look likely to extend his contract with Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, and Real Madrid circling. He hasn’t publicly changed his stance since saying he wanted a new challenge last summer and he’s barely featured this season thanks to a succession of injury problems.
Central Midfielder: Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) – £40 million
The Netherlands midfielder has been a solid performer for the Reds this season and is currently tied down at Anfield until the summer of 2021. The 29-year-old has scored twice in 22 games for Liverpool as they bid for their first top flight title in 30 years. But he is yet to agree a new deal at the club, and has repeatedly hinted at a move away.
Left Winger: Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) – £20 million
Since bursting onto the scene in the early stages of this season, the 18-year-old has been making quite a name for himself with his eye-catching and impressive performances. Saka has proven himself as a left-back since head coach Mikel Arteta took over the reins at the Emirates Stadium back in December.
Right Winger: Leroy Sane (Manchester City) – £80 million
Bayern Munich have been chasing Sane for two seasons, and have conducted a very public pursuit of the Manchester City winger in an attempt to persuade him to move to Germany. He suffered a serious knee injury in the Community Shield against Liverpool effectively put an end to his 2019/20 season. Sane is yet to agree an extension to the five-year deal he signed when joining City in 2016.
Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC – UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg
Center Forward: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) – £52 million
Aguero, 31, is out of contract at City next summer, and has refused to be drawn on his plans after the 2020/21 season. He has always said he wants to win the Champions League with the club before he leaves, and he has spoken about a return to boyhood club Independiente before retiring.
Manchester City have been handed a two-year Champions League ban by the UEFA, and Aguero’s future will depend on how the ruling goes. This season, however, City hold a promising lead going into the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie with Real Madrid.
Center Forward: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) – £56 million
Aubameyang’s future at Arsenal has been thrown into doubt of late with Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter, and Real Madrid. Gabon forward Aubameyang, who turns 31 later this month, has been a prolific scorer for Arsenal since joining from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018, netting 61 goals in only 97 appearances.
Despite his incredible success in north London, Arsenal have yet to make a move to try and convince Aubameyang to stay at the Emirates beyond the end of his current contract. His deal expires at the end of next season, and according to reports, the Gunners have not made a fresh offer to their star striker.