The contracts of a plethora of world class players will end after the ongoing European football season which means they are available to sign a pre-contract in January. Fox Sports Asia handpicks five such superstars Premier League clubs, such as Manchester United and Chelsea, should target.
Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)
It’s baffling that Arsenal are willing to let Aaron Ramsey leave on a free transfer as he has spent over ten successful years at the club despite overcoming a serious injury in his early days with the club.
The Welshman has a knack of chipping in with goals and he has scored 60 in 349 games for the North London club so far. In fact, in 2013/14, he scored 16 goals in only 34 games across all competitions. However, he’s best remembered for scoring the winning goal in the 2015 and 2017 FA Cup finals.
The 27-year-old qualifies as a home-grown player which makes his service even more valuable for the top Premier League clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City. That being said, Ramsey has also been linked with a move abroad to Bayern Munich.
Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid)
Filipe Luis will turn 34 before the start of the 2019/20 season but that shouldn’t stop top clubs from offering him a contract once his contract with Atletico Madrid expires.
Luis previously played in the Premier League for Chelsea but returned to Spain after only one season. However, a return to England cannot be ruled out.
The Brazilian left-back has a lot of top-flight and Champions League experience under his belt which could prove beneficial for more than one team. Firstly, he can be an excellent mentor for teams with young full-backs like Luke Shaw at Manchester United. Secondly, given his age, he won’t hinder the playing time of such young players as he won’t be playing week in week out.
He can be a good addition to the current Liverpool side. The Reds have Andy Robertson as their first choice left-back but the contract of their backup left-back, Alberto Moreno, ends at the end of the season. Luis can give Robertson enough rest without compromising the quality of the defence and will add some experience to the current Liverpool side which has only one player aged 30 plus.
Adrien Rabiot (PSG)
There will be a queue of clubs lining up to sign Adrien Rabiot if he doesn’t sign a new contract with PSG and the club has attempted to negotiate a new deal over the course of the ongoing season with no avail.
The 23-year-old central midfielder spent a few months of his formative years with Manchester City before returning to France to complete his football education. Now, if he is to leave PSG, then Man City is a probable destination for the player as a long-term replacement for Fernandinho.
The France international has been left out of the PSG starting XI or the matchday squad in recent weeks due to the ongoing contract dispute. In addition, PSG is reluctant to let the player leave on a free transfer. Therefore, there is a possibility that the club will sanction his sale in January for a nominal fee.
Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
Manchester United has as many as ten first-team players in the final year of their contract including goalkeeper David De Gea. However, the club has the option for a further year and if De Gea is to leave United, then it definitely won’t be for another Premier League club.
Anthony Martial also has a similar situation at Man Utd. He’s in the final year of his contract and the club has the option for an additional year but if he were to leave the club, there is a good chance that he will remain in the Premier League.
The Frenchman is arguably Manchester United’s best player of the season having scored eight goals in only 17 games across all competitions. He has been linked with a move to rivals Arsenal and Chelsea previously and a move to either club cannot be ruled out. Arsenal lack players who can play out wide while Chelsea may be looking at a proven Premier League players to replace Eden Hazard if he moves on in the next summer.
Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham)
Toby Alderweireld was the subject of interest from Manchester United last summer but Spurs were reluctant to let him leave. He was left out of the Spurs squad several times last season and this season due to a contract dispute but he was reinstated into the starting XI due to injuries and Spurs’ lack of summer transfer activity.
The Belgian has less than one year on his current contract but Spurs have the option for an additional year. However, if Spurs activate this option then another clause comes alive which allows him to leave for only £25m next summer.
As things stand, it looks like Spurs may cash in on the player in January but if no club is willing to match their hefty asking price, then the 29-year-old might be tempted to run down his current contract and move on a free transfer in the summer with Manchester United the most likely destination