Out Of Contract XI: The Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal And Chelsea Stars Who Could Leave For Nothing
The January transfer window is fast-approaching and a number of top European clubs will be hoping to tie star players down to new contracts, while others will be hoping to cash in on men who could leave for free in the summer.
We take a look at eleven of the best players who will be the subject of intense transfer interest in January because their contracts expire at the end of the 2018/19 campaign...
David de Gea (Manchester United)
David de Gea is between the sticks for our 'Out Of Contract XI' as we go with a bold 3-4-3 formation. The Spanish stopper has only kept two clean sheets in the Premier League this season but there is no doubting his class and he has been linked with a shock move to Paris St-Germain. United have the option of triggering a twelve-month contract extension but that would only delay the inevitable if the Spaniard doesn't sign a new deal this season.
David Luiz (Chelsea)
David Luiz is in the final year of his contract and he did his chances of a new deal no favours with a comically inept performance during Chelsea's 3-1 defeat at Tottenham. The 31-year-old had been surprisingly good this season but his efforts at Wembley reminded us that his likeness to the accident-prone Sideshow Bob extends beyond their similar appearance.
Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid)
Atletico Madrid's no-nonsense centre-back ignored the overtures of Manchester United last summer but Jose Mourinho has been linked with another move for the Uruguayan during the transfer window. There will be no shortage of suitors for his services.
Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham)
Another player who was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford last summer, Jan Vertonghen is yet to sign a new deal with Spurs and he seems increasingly likely to depart North London.
James Milner (Liverpool)
The ultra-consistent James Milner has become something of a cult hero on Merseyside but he is 32 years old now and it is surprising that the Liverpool hierarchy haven't offered him a new contract... yet.
Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)
Aaron Ramsey appears to be mystified by Arsenal's apparent reluctance to extend his current contract and the 27-year-old, who has made 13 Premier League appearances - mostly from the bench - this season, doesn't appear to be part of Unai Emery's plans.
Ander Herrera (Manchester United)
It is remarkable to think that Ander Herrera has played 169 games for Manchester United as he doesn't spring to mind as a first-team regular at Old Trafford. Injuries have stopped him reaching his potential on a consistent basis and he is yet to earn the complete trust of Mourinho. The 29-year-old has only played 196 minutes of league football this season and he hasn't completed the full 90 minutes of a game since May.
Adrien Rabiot (Paris St-Germain)
The French star is likely to be the most sought after midfielder in Europe during the next few months. The 23-year-old comes with baggage as there are question marks over his attitude, but there is no doubting the quality of Adrien Rabiot.
Olivier Giroud (Chelsea)
The former Arsenal forward signed an eighteen-month contract when he arrived at Stamford Bridge in January but he has struggled to nail down a spot in Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea team during this campaign. The Frenchman finds himself behind the much-maligned Alvaro Morata in the attacking pecking order, scoring only one goal in ten league appearances so far.
Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)
Danny Welbeck has been the ultimate squad man for Arsenal for some time now and he has performed well when called upon in the League Cup and Europa League this season. However, a serious injury will keep him out for the foreseeable future and it remains to be seen whether the Gunners will extend his deal.
Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)
Like Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge is perhaps a player who has struggled to fulfil his potential during a frustrating career. The Liverpool striker was in great form during pre-season and he appeared set to force his way into Jurgen Klopp's thinking on a regular basis, although a return of four goals in twelve games - as well as a reported FA charge for an alleged betting indiscretion - have left the 29-year-old sweating on his future at the club.