Free Agents – Countdown to June

As we stand this summer could be a bumper shopping market with some quality footballers based abroad and domestically available for no transfer fees. I’m taking a look at a few of the players who could be moving on and possible destinations within the Premier League:

Lionel Messi – The standout player, who if he’d had his way would have moved on last summer. The stumbling block for not just domestic clubs but teams across the world will be his wages. Its a fair and solid argument he is worth the money, but by the time he joins a new club he will be 34. What sort of club owner will sign off £300k-£500k per week wages? It leaves a small number of teams Chelsea, Man Utd & Man City domestically and PSG or Bayern Munich across the continent. As much as we’d all like Messi to play in England, PSG seems the more likely place he will go but City or Bayern will be strong contenders if interested as his move will be strongly decided on who he can win honours with especially the Champions League. All 3 mentioned previously now consistently compete in the later rounds of Europe’s top comp, its not a project Messi thrives, its a winner.

Gianlugi Donnarumma – One of the best young goalkeepers in the world, any team signing him will potentially be obtaining their goalkeeper for the next 10 years. Juve will hold strong aspirations within SerieA and again PSG will be hovering around but playing in the Premier League would be the best of both worlds, standard of play along with the high potential wages. Liverpool, Chelsea & Man City seem happy and set with their current keepers so the standout side left would be Man Utd. David De Gea and Dean Henderson both could be moving on to help release transfer funds and gaining Donnarumma seems ideal. I can’t also ignore Arsenal & Spurs, they both have keepers but the chance to sign this talented young man should not be ignored, their selling point like with many imports is the London way of life.

David Alaba – For the second year on the trot a Bayern mainstay could be on their way to England and Alaba will no doubt suit the Premier League style of play. The versatile defender has been heavily linked with Real Madrid and he’s expressed that wages will not be his sole reasoning for his decision, its the challenge he desires. Competing with Madrid is always hard but all top Premier League teams will be interested, can offer competitive wages and hold a need for a top defender. I would lean towards his destination being in the red of Utd or Liverpool if he comes to England.

Sergio Ramos – If he leaves Madrid, it could go down to the wire regarding his contract, the only landing spot in this country would be Man Utd. I cannot see any other team interested either due to his age and wage demands. Utd need a real leader and winner within their defence, the signing of Cavani this season showed they do not care about age compared to the skill set the player offers in the short term.

Memphis Depay – He is the captain of Lyon but if their was a strong wish to keep him surely they would ensure he’d signed a deal by now? After a disappointing spell with Man Utd he may not want to come back to the Premier League but it could be his only choice. He will want a strong deal but would the elite European teams give him that when he possibly may only be a squad/rotation player for the likes of Barca, Madrid, Bayern or PSG. Its totally feasible he could earn the wages he wants playing for Everton, Leicester or Aston Villa.

Julian Draxler – Long linked with England now is the time for him to come over, he’s been lost in the pack at PSG for a long time. He is 27, which means some of his best footballing years are now. He is strong, fast and skilful, I could see him playing for City but their rotation may not suit him after incurring this while at PSG. He would be a massive upgrade for Spurs compared to Lamela, Bergwyn and Moura, it would be a good move for all parties.

Nikola Maksimovic – If you like your defenders in the mould of Vidic then Nikola is your man. Not necessary in the elite mould of Vidic, if he joined a top 6 side he would be a complimentary piece to the squad. For all other Premier League teams he would be a starter. His versatility has hindered his career, a new start playing in one position would be welcomed as he enters his 30’s.

Javi Martinez – A rolls Royce of a footballer, classis ability with the ball, a major doubt for him playing in England would be his lack of pace and questionable mobility. Surely the only manager who would consider this move would be Pep, they have history?

Domestically a few lads in and around their 30’s could be moving around the Premier League top of the bunch being Ryan Bertrand he’s been linked with Arsenal but he wouldn’t be a starter, after years of being a squad player at Chelsea would he settle for that now? If not his next move could be in and around the lower half of the league even maybe a newly promoted side. This type of move could occur for lads like Schlupp, Saiss, Sakho, Townsend, Benteke, Van Aanholt, Lundstram & Rose. They could all be entering the Neil Redfern stage of the top flight life!

Angel Di Maria & Henrikh Mkhitaryan have played and failed in England their future could still be at their current clubs but realistically they will look for employment for clubs in either of the top 2 European competitions. Luca Modric ended up being a success with Spurs but coming back to England at 35 doesn’t seem viable.

David Luiz, Edinson Cavani, Georginho Wijnnaldum, Juan Mata and Sergio Aguero are more likely to be leaving England this summer with South America, Spain or Portugal their landing spots. These guys have earnt their corn and a kin to Alaba its the challenge not the wages which will determine where they play next. They will all be missed but its time for new domestic and foreign stars to shine.

Footballers are euro lottery winners rich these days but the players listed above could increase their end of career pension funds a great deal if they move on for free at the end of their contract, skimming off some of the transfer fee which would have been paid.

I say good luck to them, maximise your earning capabilities, to be a top footballer you have worked hard along with your natural ability.