Analysis

Ranked! The 10 best Premier League stars going for free this summer

Thore Haugstad runs down the list of the top 10 players who - unless they sign a new contract ASAP - will be available for nothing this summer

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10. Yaya Toure (Man City)

Sluggish and static, Yaya Toure first looked doomed when Pep Guardiola took charge at Manchester City in 2016. Yet as the team floundered, the Ivorian playmaker returned to the line-up. Having celebrated his 34th birthday last May, he even got a new one-year deal. The game looks up now, however, given that Toure has not started a league game since.

What could he offer elsewhere? Hand him a luxurious midfield role, get others to do the running, and he may well be worth a punt. If work rate is temporary, class is usually permanent.

9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Man United)

The imperious Swede would sit higher on this list based on talent alone, but injuries put a question mark over his value. Having returned from a serious knee injury in November, he suffered a setback in late December that will cost him another month. Barring a sensational comeback, Manchester United will surely not extend his deal beyond  this summer.

So how fun it would be if someone else snapped him up? Though his legs may not be as fast at 36, Ibracadabra can lift squads with his mere presence, charisma and winning mentality. He’d be a gamble, expensive too, but if anyone can defy the ageing process it is him.

8. Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace)

Crystal Palace shattered their wage structure to sign Cabaye from Paris Saint-Germain in 2015, but now risk losing him for nothing. He may well go in summer, as Roy Hodgson says he won’t sell him in January. At 31, Cabaye would bolster several Premier League sides with his defensive nous and diligent passing.

The seasoned Frenchman has formed the backbone of the Palace team, and though his stay has coincided with two relegation scraps, he has also been part of why Palace have survived each one.

7. Marouane Fellaini (Man United)

The Belgian is not universally adored, but Jose Mourinho loves throwing him on to chase or protect leads, preferably with big headers and the odd elbow. Yet Fellaini could leave. United have others whose deals expire soon – Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Ashley Young, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw – but the club can extend their stay for another year.

With Fellaini, no such clause exists. Why would Fellaini leave? At 30, he won’t get a bigger club, nor one that pays better. The issue might be playing time, though a new deal still looks the best call for both parts.