Today’s date, June 30, can strike fear and excitement, relief and dread, in a footballer’s mind as it marks the official end of thousands of players’ contracts across Europe.
The transfer window has already been a busy one, with hefty fees being dropped by Premier League giants and youth prodigies eyed as the next gems of the market.
But free agents can represent huge value, too. While often dubbed ‘free’ transfers, they do of course come with signing-on fees, agent fees and the other bonuses usually thrown at players putting pen to paper.
Today means a number of experienced stars of English football are available as free agents, most notably Wilfried Zaha. It wasn’t long ago that Crystal Palace reportedly rated him at £80million and a £200,000-a-week contract offer is on the table, .
Roberto Firmino, David De Gea, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lucas Moura and Jesse Lingard.
Manchester United have released Axel Tuanzebe as well as goalkeeper De Gea, who could yet sign a new deal at Old Trafford. Over at Arsenal, Reiss Nelson is negotiating over his expired contract while Ainsley Maitland-Niles has left. Likewise, Paul Dummett has moved on from Newcastle but Eddie Howe has hinted at a possible return.
Across the continent, former stars of the English game are today without a team having failed to reignite their career abroad. Aaron Ramsey and Ross Barkley have both left Nice with former Tottenham defender Matt Doherty now also a ‘former’ Atletico Madrid player.
There are a number of new free agents rising towards the peak of their career, perhaps the most exciting of which is Daichi Kamada. After impressing in Japan’s World Cup run, AC Milan and Roma want the ex-Eintracht Frankfurt playmaker.
Lille winger Jonathan Bamba is said to be a target for Marseille and West Ham are among several sides tipped to bid for Tunisian anchor man Ellyes Skhiri. Ghana international defender Alexander Djiku, after leaving Strasbourg, is a target for Nottingham Forest.
As every year, a plethora of the game’s veterans are seeking new clubs with Eden Hazard a surprise name leading this summer’s list. The Chelsea legend’s Real Madrid contract was due to expire in 2024 until it was terminated a year early.
Juventus have today waved goodbye to Angel Di Maria with fellow World Cup winners Sergio Ramos and Jerome Boateng, ex-Lyon striker Moussa Dembele and even one-time Manchester United flop Radamel Falcao, now 37, all free agents.
Finally, a handful of perfectly capable Premier League players have departed clubs. These include Willian, who has been offered a new Fulham contract, Yerry Mina and Tom Davies most recently of Everton, ex-Palace duo Luka Milivojevic and James MacArthur, plus Adama Traore and Manuel Lanzini.