Which players are out of contract in the summer? Uncovering 19 high-profile stars who can sign pre-contract agreements with other clubs

High-profile players out of contract in the summer
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While the 2023 January transfer window is now closed and plenty of moves have been completed, there are still negotiations behind-the-scenes taking place between players and potential suitors.

Indeed, a host of players are now within the final six months of their contract with their respective clubs - some of whom are star names across Europe - leaving them free to negotiate with sides in other leagues.

As players head into the final six months of their contract, they are able to enter negotiations with another club to sign a pre-contract agreement. This means that, on the expiration of their current deal, they will be able to move to their new club for free. 

However, players are unable to sign a pre-contract agreement with a team in the same country their club is currently in. For example, a Premier League player can only enter into talks with interested parties outside of England, with the same rules applying across Europe.

Ageing Real Madrid trio Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are all out of contract in the summer, but, due to their age and potential desire to play away from Europe, the fact they all have six months left on their contract isn't perhaps as controversial at a second glance. 

Lionel Messi's contract is also due to expire in the summer, but reports suggest talks with Paris Saint-Germain are underway to extend his deal. Prior to winning the World Cup, Messi seemed close to agreeing a contract with MLS-based Inter Miami - part-owned by David Beckham - but he has since changed his mind. 

Consequently, there are 19 high-profile players all with just five months now remaining on their contracts who could all sign pre-contract agreements, and FourFourTwo covers these players below. 

Players out of contract in the summer

Youri Tielemans

Youri Tielemans

(Image credit: Getty)

For the past 18 months, Leicester City have been working tirelessly to tie down Youri Tielemans to a new contract. However, the Belgian has refused to put pen to paper on a new deal, instead holding out for offers from elsewhere.

Arsenal are long-time admirers of Tielemans, but, due to regulations, won't be able to make him an offer until the expiry of his deal in the summer. While the 25-year-old's relationship with Leicester fortunately hasn't deteriorated despite his refusal to sign a new deal, it is likely he will leave in the summer - though it is unclear where yet. 

Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha

(Image credit: Getty)

Zaha could finally get the big-club move he has seemingly been pining for for the past few years as he enters his 30s. The Crystal Palace forward has been an excellent servant for the club, helping the south London side thrive in the Premier League with his dazzling performances.

The Ivorian is ready to move onto a bigger club, though, with Barcelona reportedly interested in adding the forward to their ranks. The Catalan side have made good use of pre-contract agreements in recent years - notably Franck Kessie and Sergio Aguero - and could do the same with Zaha over the coming weeks.

Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino

(Image credit: Getty)

Having fallen out of favour at Anfield since the arrivals of Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and now Cody Gakpo, Bobby Firmino's time at Liverpool looks like it's coming to an end. The 31-year-old has won everything available to him since joining the club in 2015, though, in what has proven a very successful relationship. 

Firmino has been linked to a number of destinations as his deal comes to a close, with Barcelona, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, boyhood club Sao Paulo and sides in Saudi Arabia are all interested in signing the Brazilian. 

Milan Skriniar

Milan Skriniar

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The most expensive player on this list, as per Transfermarkt, Skriniar is into his sixth season with Inter Milan and has been impressing across Europe since joining the Italian giants in 2017. 

The highly-rated 27-year-old has already been snapped up by Paris Saint-Germain, though, the French club identifying Skriniar as the perfect player to step into their backline from next season. The Slovakian preferred to complete the move permanently in January, due to fears of his reception at San Siro from Inter supporters for the remainder of the season, but PSG were unwilling to match the Italian side's demands. 

Marco Asensio

Marco Asensio

(Image credit: PA)

Asensio unfortunately hasn't managed to hit the heights his potential promised in his early years at Real Madrid, with the attacking player struggling to tie down a starting spot in the Los Blancos XI. The club were also willing to listen to offers in January and recoup some cash for the Spaniard, but no club stepped up with a suitable transfer fee.

Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing him on a pre-contract agreement.

Adrien Rabiot

Adrien Rabiot

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Heavily linked with a move to Manchester United last summer, Rabiot has since impressed in Turin and at the World Cup starting in France's midfield. Rabiot has previous of running down his contract, though, having done so at PSG, and is doing the same while at Juventus.

The Frenchman is currently in the middle of a three-way tussle between Premier League sides, with Liverpool, Arsenal and Newcastle United all keen on adding the talented midfielder to their squads for next season. 

N'Golo Kante

N'Golo Kante

(Image credit: Getty Images)

N'Golo Kante enters into his final months at Chelsea with plenty of doubts, his injury issues in the past couple of years making him slightly less reliable than he once was. At 31-years-old, though, Kante likely has plenty of years left in the tank, if he manages to stay fit.

Barcelona are among clubs sniffing around the midfielder, with Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr - Cristiano Ronaldo's new club - also likely to present the Frenchman with an offer.

Thomas Lemar

Thomas Lemar

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lemar hasn't quite reached the level with Atletico Madrid that he displayed during his time at Monaco, but is still only 27 and has plenty of opportunities to play at the highest level. Diego Simeone has often utilised the Frenchman in a number of positions, highlighting his versatility. 

A Premier League bow for Lemar doesn't look likely, with AC Milan working hard to bring him to the San Siro. 

Marcus Thuram

Marcus Thuram

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The strong forward has developed into a clinical finisher during his time with Borussia Monchengladbach, already bagging 10 goals in 17 Bundesliga games this season. That total is already the best season return of his career so far, and the 25-year-old is on the radar of top clubs across Europe.

David De Gea

David de Gea

(Image credit: Getty)

David De Gea has been Manchester United's best performer over the last decade, his consistent displays in goal saving the side on countless occasions. He also became the club's joint-tenth-most appearance maker in United's 3-0 win over Bournemouth, and has reiterated his desire to stay at the club a number of times.

However, manager Erik Ten Hag is said to prefer a goalkeeper more competent with the ball at his feet, with De Gea's hefty wages also presenting an issue. He will likely stay at the club with a pay cut, but might not be the first-choice keeper at the start of next season. 

Stefan de Vrij

Stefan de Vrij

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Inter Milan's central defence could be decimated if both Milan Skriniar and Stefan De Vrij decide to sign a pre-contract agreement elsewhere, with Skriniar already heading to Paris in the summer. 

De Vrij has been offered an improved contract to stay at Inter, with the 30-year-old's performances in the heart of the defence impressing as they slowly climb back up the table. 

Raphael Guerreiro 

Raphael Guerreiro

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A versatile player capable of working from both left-back and left midfield, Guerreiro is reportedly refusing to sign a new deal with Borussia Dortmund. The Portuguese player has been at the club since 2016, but is now keen on a new challenge.

Both Juventus and Leeds United are looking at finalising a deal with Guerreiro, but there are suggestions he will take his time in making up his mind. 

Ilkay Gundogan

Ilkay Gundogan

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ilkay Gundogan has performed exceptionally for Pep Guardiola's Manchester City in recent seasons, but he has grown somewhat frustrated at not being able to start every game for the side due to the abundance of talent within the squad.

Both Real Madrid and Barcelona have turned down the opportunity to take Gundogan for free in the summer, and he could still sign a new deal with the Premier League champions. 

Naby Keita

Naby Keita of Liverpool runs with the ball during the pre-season friendly match between RB Leipzig and Liverpool FC at Red Bull Arena on July 21, 2022 in Leipzig, Germany.

(Image credit: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Keita has failed to impress since joining Liverpool for over £50 million in 2018, and, despite the side's pressing issue in central midfield, it seems the Guinean is surplus to Jurgen Klopp's requirements. 

A new contract doesn't seem forthcoming, while speculation linking him with a move to the continent has also dwindled recently. It remains to be seen where Keita will be playing his football next season. 

Houssem Aouar

Houssem Aouar

(Image credit: PA)

Once one of Europe's most highly-sought after midfielders, Aouar hasn't managed to kick on while staying at Lyon. The Frenchman has allowed his contract to run down, though, and a move elsewhere looks necessary for him to reenergise his career.

Roma have reportedly reached a pre-contract agreement with the 24-year-old, with both Milan clubs also in the picture, too. 

Daichi Kamada

Daichi Kamada

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A clever attacking midfielder with an eye for goal, Kamada has excelled at Eintracht Frankfurt in the past 18 months. His technical ability also helped the German side win the Europa League last season, and now Kamada is ready to make the step up to a bigger club.

With Antonio Conte desperately in need of attacking creativity in his side, Tottenham could offer the Japan international a contract ahead of next season. 

Alejandro Grimaldo

Alex Grimaldo

(Image credit: Getty)

After eight seasons playing in Portugal for Benfica, Grimaldo is ready for a change of scenery. The left-back is among Europe's elite in his position, with plenty of clubs lining up offers for the Spaniard.

Indeed, Italian clubs Napoli, Inter Milan and Juventus are all keen on securing his signature, while Barcelona - whom he played for in the B team - are also admirers. With Jordi Alba ageing, Grimaldo could prove the perfect replacement. 

Caglar Soyuncu

Caglar Soyuncu

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The one-time much-heralded Leicester City central defender has fallen massively out of favour at the King Power Stadium in recent years, with his performances declining fairly dramatically from the heady heights he once hit.

Signed in 2018, a year before Harry Magurie left for Manchester United, Soyuncu seemed the perfect replacement. The Turkish defender has fallen massively down Brendan Rodgers' pecking order since, though Atletico Madrid are reportedly among the clubs interested in acquiring the 26-year-old's services.

Evan Ndicka

Evan N'Dicka

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ndicka's performances at centre-back last year impressed greatly across Europe, as he made the Bundesliga Team of the Season on the way to winning the Europa League with Eintracht Frankfurt. 

Newcastle and Arsenal are both interested in signing the Frenchman for free in the summer, but Eintracht Frankfurt have offered the 23-year-old an extremely lucrative contract in an attempt to keep one of their prized assets. 

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1