World Football

Ranking the 25 Best out-of-Contract Players Set for Summer Transfers

Laura GreeneFeatured ColumnistApril 10, 2014

Ranking the 25 Best out-of-Contract Players Set for Summer Transfers

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    Matthias Schrader

    At the end of the season, some excellent players will be available for nothing when their current deals run out. Lots of world-class names are already well into the final six months of their contracts, but who are they and where could they be going?

    Over the following slides, we take a look at a selection of the best names who will be able to move on a Bosman this summer, including Patrice Evra, Jeremy Menez and Lukasz Fabianski (above).

    How are the players ranked? With "the best" coming in at No.1, these choices have been arranged according to name recognition. The more a player is recognized and feted for their work, the higher they will be. When we get to the top 10, age will play a factor and the slides will be ordered from oldest to youngest. 

    Not included are players who have already agreed deals to move to other clubs, such as Robert Lewandowski, Nemanja Vidic and Sebastian Rode.

25. Roberto Rosales, FC Twente

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Venezuelan right-back Roberto Rosales will see his four-year contract at FC Twente run out in June.

    The 25-year-old has taken in over 150 games for the Eredivisie side, since signing for the club from Gent in 2010.

    In October, Rosales was being linked with a move to Arsenal, as reported by Simon Jones in the Daily Mail

    FC Twente have conceded just 33 goals all season, the second fewest behind Ajax who have let in 23.

24. Guillermo Ochoa, Ajaccio

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Guillermo Ochoa has impressed in his three seasons at Ajaccio, where he has been named the club's Player of the Year for the last two campaigns.

    The Mexican goalkeeper is also a shoo-in for representing his country at the approaching World Cup in Brazil.

    This performance against Toulouse in Ligue 1 on March 29, was particularly impressive by the highly-rated keeper.

    Out of contract in June, there promises to be plenty of interest in the 28-year-old this summer. According to talkSPORT, Marseille are lining up Ochoa who, until recently, was also a target for Liverpool.

23. Mike Havenaar, Vitesse Arnhem

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Japan international Mike Havenaar will come to the end of his contract with Vitesse Arnhem at the season's end.

    The 26-year-old striker has hit form at the right time to put himself in the shop window, with five goals scored in his last seven Eredivisie outings.

    Last season he scored 11—playing alongside Wilfried Bony, who joined Swansea City over the summer and he could further his chances of a big move, if he appears at the approaching World Cup with Japan.

22. Caner Erkin, Fenerbahce

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    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Caner Erkin's time with Fenerbahce may be about to come to an end, if his current deal is not extended. 

    The 25-year-old left-back, previously of Manisaspor, CSKA Moscow and Galatasaray (loan) has clocked up almost 150 appearances for the Turkish side, where he has won the 2010/11 Super Lig title and two Turkish cups.

    During the January transfer window, Erkin's agent told Turkish-football.com (h/t Nick Lustig in the Daily Star) that Erkin could get a move to the English top flight—naming Liverpool and "a number of Premier League clubs" as being interested. 

    However, Batur Altiparmak also said, "Caner is happy at Fenerbahce and will hold talks with the club first."

     

21. Daniel Opare, Standard Liege

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    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    Ghana international Daniel Opare will see his time at Standard Liege come to an end in June, when his current contract runs out.

    Last summer he was linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur, as reported by Darren Lewis in the Mirror. This year, early indications suggest that Arsenal are interested in securing his services. As Sami Mokbel reported in the Daily Mail, the Gunners' scouts have been watching Opare in action in Belgium.

    The 23-year-old joined Standard Liege in 2010, after spending two years with Real Madrid's reserves.

20. Bafetimbi Gomis, Lyon

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    Claude Paris

    After starting the season on the Lyon bench, Bafetimbi Gomis has gone on to appear in 26 Ligue 1 games, registering 11 goals and a further eight in cup competition.

    His contract runs out in June and the Premier League looks to be a likely destination for the 28-year-old striker.

    When talking about his client's future beyond Lyon, Gomis' Italian agent Francesco Di Frisco said in December (per ESPNFC.com):

    I'm sincere, I don't think the future is in Serie A for Bafetimbi. For the moment, we have had some interest from France, England and Germany. I don't understand why there are no Italian clubs, particularly as he always scores when he has been able to play, even in the Europa League.

    It's also true that, come Jan. 31, if an Italian team calls, anything could happen. Everything's still open, but today, I think the Premier League is his preferred destination. I would say he'll go in June when he'll be free.

     

19. Mateo Musacchio, Villarreal

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    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    Mateo Musacchio has impressed in the yellow colours of Villarreal, who he joined in 2009 from River Plate. After breaking through from the B team, the Argentinian has made over 150 appearances for the La Liga side.

    Club president Fernando Roig has insisted that the player actually has a contract that runs until 2018, as seen on Skysports.com—a claim that has been met with some skepticism, as it has not been officially confirmed on the Villarreal website at any time, as explained here by B/R's Allan Jiang.

    On Transfermarkt.com, Musacchio's contract looks set to run out in June. 

    He is 23, an excellent centre-half and he could be available for free when his contract runs out this summer.

    Clubs across Europe, form an orderly queue.

     

18. Kasper Schmeichel, Leicester City

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    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Kasper Schmeichel has just won promotion to the Premier League with Leicester City, but will he be at the club next season?

    According to David Wright in the Express, the 27-year-old is waiting for a decision on his future and credits AC Milan and Manchester United with interest in the goalkeeper.

    Wright quotes Schmeichel as saying:

    I have never hidden how much I enjoy to play for Leicester. It is a fantastic club, where I have been happy from the first day.

    I can just sit and wait for the club right now, there is nothing else I can do at the moment.

    Schmeichel, son of former Manchester United stopper Peter Schmeichel, has played every minute of every game for the Foxes this season.

17. Lukasz Fabianski, Arsenal

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Arsenal's Lukasz Fabianski has not made one appearance in the Premier League this season. However, he has been Arsene Wenger's preferred choice in the FA Cup, conceding just two goals in the Gunners' last four games.

    It's likely that the Polish goalkeeper will look for a move this summer, when his contract runs out at the Emirates in June.

    The 28-year-old has already been linked with a move to Celtic, as seen in The Scotsman (h/t Alex Richards in the Mirror), with Basel, Sevilla and Schalke all reportedly interested.

16. Dimitar Berbatov, Monaco

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    Lionel Cironneau

    Dimitar Berbatov joined Monaco from Fulham in January of this year. The Bulgarian has so far made ten appearances in Ligue 1 and the French Cup—scoring four goals and registering five assists.

    His deal with Claudio Ranieri's side expires in June and the 33-year-old may be tempted to make one final switch before retiring.

    I wouldn't bet against seeing the striker get a free transfer this summer.

15. Diego, Atletico Madrid

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    Alvaro Barrientos

    In January, Atletico Madrid snapped up Wolfsburg midfielder Diego for the rest of the 2013/14 season.

    Diego Ribas da Cunha has played for Atletico before—on-loan in 2011/12 when the Brazilian won the Europa League with Diego Simeone's side.

    Since returning to the Vicente Calderon, the 29-year-old has made nine appearances in La Liga, three in the Champions League and two in the Copa del Rey. He has scored twice, including this excellent strike, scored against Barcelona in the quarter-final first leg in the Champions League last week. 

    Diego's contract is up in June. 

     

14. Joleon Lescott, Manchester City

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Joleon Lescott's Manchester City contract is set to expire this June and the 31-year-old is likely to be an attractive target for a number of clubs.

    The defender has played in just 10 Premier League games for the Citizens this term, with a further 14 appearances coming in European and domestic cup competition.

    Lescott has fallen far down the pecking order since his move to the Etihad in 2009. According to The Sun (h/t Goal.com), the former England international is being tracked by Turkish side Besiktas.

    Last month the Daily Star's Paul Hetherington even claimed that Manchester United were interested in signing the former Everton man, with Stoke, Newcastle and West Brom also mentioned as possible destinations.

13. Bacary Sagna, Arsenal

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    Alastair Grant

    Almost into his seventh year with Arsenal, Bacary Sagna could be set for the exits at the Emirates if his current contract is not extended.

    The 31-year-old will be a free agent in June and, as rumours suggest, he could be on his way to Manchester City when the transfer window reopens for business.

    According to The Guardian's David Hytner, Sagna has already been offered a three-year deal by the Manchester club, with Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Inter Milan, Paris St-Germain and Monaco also keen. As Hytner writes:

    There is an offer of a new two-year contract at the Emirates Stadium ready for Sagna to sign but he is holding out for three. The right-back knows that City will give him what he wants, not to mention a significant increase on his £50,000-a-week salary.

     

12. Jeremy Menez, Paris Saint-Germain

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Jeremy Menez and the Paris Saint-Germain bench have got to know each other very well this season. A little too well for Menez's liking, you'd imagine.

    The 26-year-old has appeared in just 12 Ligue 1 outings for PSG this term—in only three of those games did he complete 90 minutes.

    When asked about his situation at the Parc des Princes in January, Menez had this to say (per Skysports.com):

    I will remain at Paris until the end of the season. I am fine here and the officials trust me. I will do my very best.

    I didn't talk with anyone about a winter departure because it was out of the question to leave.

    In Metro, Jon Harvey claimed recently that the winger had been linked with Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. Also (with quotes originally appearing in Gazzetta dello Sport), Menez appears to be keen on a move back to Serie A, where he used to play with AS Roma. He said:

    I had back surgery last summer and, when I was fit again, the coach made his choice. [Former coach Carlo] Ancelotti was closer to his players – you felt important with him. Laurent Blanc has a different way of managing. I am a little misunderstood at PSG.

    I had a great time in Rome. I already speak the language. I know Serie A, I know everything about it. The adaptation would be easy.

    I am looking for a team that would make me rediscover the pleasure of playing football. Juve is a team that I really like – one of the best in Europe.

    It has a quality workforce, consisting solely of champions – including in my position. But competition does not scare me.

11. Victor Valdes, FC Barcelona

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    Paul White

    Victor Valdes has let it be known for some time that he intends to leave Barcelona at the end of the 2013/14 season. As quoted on BBC Sport, Valdes confirmed he would be leaving the Nou Camp last May.

    It's unfortunate that Valdes suffered cruciate ligament damage when lining up against Celta Vigo last month—his last appearance in a Barca shirt ending with the keeper leaving the field on a stretcher.

    How this will affect where Valdes plays next season remains to be seen. However, pre-injury, the Spaniard was being linked with Monaco, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool, as seen on Skysports.com.

    As reported by The Guardian, Valdes is set to be sidelined for seven months after undergoing surgery on his knee.

     

10. Didier Drogba, Galatasaray

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Didier Drogba will reach the end of his Galatasaray contract when the curtain comes down on the 2013/14 season. In 53 games for the Turkish side, the 36-year-old has scored 20 goals and registered 13 assists.

    As reported by Matt Law in The Telegraph last month, the former Chelsea striker will have the option to extend his contract with Roberto Mancini's side by an additional year and has also had interest from Juventus and clubs in the MLS.

    Law also reports that Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has not ruled out the idea of offering Drogba a return to the club this summer:

    Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, claimed this week that Drogba would one day rejoin the club in some capacity and did not rule out a playing return while also floating the possibility of coaching or ambassadorial roles.

    Drogba is interested in moving into coaching eventually, but the 36-year-old is convinced that he can carry on playing past the end of this season. The Ivorian is, therefore, ready to snub coaching or ambassadorial offers, unless they are combined with a playing contract.

9. Miroslav Klose, Lazio

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    Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

    Miroslav Klose's Lazio contract is up in June and, chances are, he will have one more big move before hanging up his boots for good.

    The 35-year-old has scored seven goals in 22 Serie A games this season and was thought to be part of Joachim Low's World Cup plans for Germany, until a thigh muscle tear damaged his chances of appearing in this summer's tournament, as seen on SI.com.

    In March, Klose told SZ (h/t ESPNFC.com) that a number of clubs are interested in signing him this summer:

    I can still play at a high level for two or three more years. I thank God that there are so many interesting options there for me.

    There are so many false rumours that have gone around, what is certain is that I want to continue playing at a high level. 

     

8. Frank Lampard, Chelsea

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    This time last season, it looked like Frank Lampard's time in a Chelsea shirt was coming to an end. His contract was about to run out and there were rumours of a move to join LA Galaxy in the MLS, as seen on Goal.com

    However, Lampard signed a one-year contract extension and has appeared in 37 games (in all competitions) for the Blues this season, scoring seven goals.

    But, as his contract nears its end (again), speculation has started to gather steam about a possible Chelsea exit this summer.

    The Sun (h/t Liam Prenderville in the Mirror) claim that LA Galaxy are willing to offer the midfielder £4 million-a-year to join them in the United States.

    In February, the Mirror's Steve Stammers suggested that Lampard could be offered one more year at Stamford Bridge.

7. Claudio Pizarro, Bayern Munich

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Claudio Pizarro may be 35 and on his second spell with Bayern Munich, but don't bet against him getting one last move this summer. 

    Last season the striker weighed in with his fair share of goals, en route to Bayern's league, cup and Champions League treble, with 13 scored in 28 games.

    This season, the Peruvian has notched five in the Bundesliga and one in the DFB Pokal. In February, he told Kicker magazine (h/t Skysports.com):

    It would not be bad to make a decision on my future before the end of the season. But I am in no hurry. There will be something else if Bayern Munich should decide against giving me a new contract.

    I will definitely carry on playing and I am ready to face competition at Bayern. 

    I always have enquiries from other clubs. I mainly want to remain with a good club and be part of a good squad that wants to win trophies.

    I will only leave Bayern for a foreign league.

6. Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Rio Ferdinand has racked up over 450 appearances for Manchester United and, at 35, it's easy to understand why the central defender is slowing down.

    The former West Ham and Leeds United player's contract at Old Trafford will be up in June and it's not yet clear whether he will be handed an extension or move to pastures new.

    In The Guardian, it was reported last month that rumours of Ferdinand's end-of-season retirement were "complete nonsense," according to United boss David Moyes.  

    In the Daily Mail, a move into Major League Soccer was mooted by Graeme Yorke in January, with offers from the Middle East and China also being mentioned.

    Ferdinand has appeared in a total of 20 games (in all competitions) for United this season.

5. Samuel Eto'o, Chelsea

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    Alastair Grant

    His 11 goals in the Premier League and Champions League for Chelsea this season, prove that Samuel Eto'o has still got what it takes to be a predator in front of goal.

    The 33-year-old joined the Blues in August 2013 on a short-term contract that is set to expire in June.

    Comments caught on camera by Canal+ (h/t Liam Prenderville in the Mirror), in which Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho's criticised his strikers and appeared to single out Eto'o, make it seem unlikely that the Cameroonian will stay on at Stamford Bridge beyond the summer.

    According to the Mirror's James Nursey, Inter Milan want to sign their former player and apparently, "Contact has now been made with the striker's agent, Claudio Vigorelli, about a second spell with the San Siro side."

    Elsewhere, Matt Law claims in The Telegraph that Eto'o can choose between a return to his former club Real Mallorca or a move to Major League Soccer in the U.S.

     

4. Esteban Cambiasso, Inter Milan

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    Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

    By the time his contract runs out in June, Esteban Cambiasso will have been a loyal servant at Inter Milan for a decade, taking in over 400 appearances for the Italian side.

    The Champions League and five-time Serie A winner has played 27 times in midfield for Inter this season and looks likely to depart San Siro this summer when his deal runs out.

    According to Argentine news agency Telam (h/t Skysports.com), the 33-year-old has been tipped for a move to Major League Soccer.

    These rumours come from River Plate president Rodolfo D'Onofrio, who says he would love to re-sign the player that spent a year with the club in 2001/02 but does not think Cambiasso will choose the Argentine side.

    He said, "I would really love to bring him back here, but I can say with certainty that, when Cambiasso leaves Inter, he will continue his career in the United States."

3. Ashley Cole, Chelsea

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    Sang Tan

    Ashley Cole has appeared in just 14 top-flight games for Chelsea this season. With Cesar Azpilicueta ahead of him in the Blues' pecking order and a contract that's set to expire in June, the 33-year-old looks like he will be bidding farewell to Stamford Bridge this summer.

    It doesn't look like he will struggle for suitors.

    According to The Sun (h/t Chris Richards in the Mirror), Real Madrid have offered Cole £8 million to join them when the transfer window opens.

    Whereas in The Independent, Jack de Menezes claims that Liverpool are interested in signing the England international, with a "big-money move" to the MLS also mooted.

2. John Terry, Chelsea

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    In January it seemed that John Terry would be leaving Chelsea at the end of the 2013/14 campaign, the Mirror's John Cross claiming that "Sources close to Terry say he is now becoming resigned to the fact that he will not be at Stamford Bridge next season."

    With a contract that's set to expire in June, there's a chance that Terry may depart the club that he has played for, for almost 16 years.

    However, recent quotes from Jose Mourinho suggest that Terry will sign an extension to his current deal. As seen on ESPNFC.com, the Blues boss said:

    The only idea I have is that the manager wants him to stay but the contracts are between the player and the club. I never have any involvement in this.

    They will find the right moment. The club knows I want him to stay. The club wants him to stay, he wants to stay, so normally he is staying.

    As Matt Law reports in The Telegraph, there is interest from Terry from abroad and the 33-year-old is said to have been frustrated at the length of time it has taken Chelsea to open contract negotiations. 

     

1. Patrice Evra, Manchester United

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    Rui Vieira

    Patrice Evra's Manchester United contract will be up by the end of June. There is still an outside chance that the Frenchman will be offered an extension to his current deal at Old Trafford, however a move away from Manchester may also beckon.

    There have been rumours that the 32-year-old may re-join his former club Monaco, or fellow Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain, as reported in January in The Independent by Jack de Menezes.

    More recently, in The Sun (h/t Liam Prenderville in the Mirror) Inter Milan appear interested, with Monaco's name also in the frame.

    The player himself has not given any indication where his future lies. In a February interview with RMC Sport (h/t Skysports.com), the left-back said:

    My love will not change for the club. I love Manchester. When my love will be broken with Manchester, I will study the possibilities.

    I am only thinking about the present. In May I will be 33 years old. I really want to have fun at the next World Cup, enjoy every moment and give my all.

     

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