The free-transfer market will be a fiercely competitive space this summer, as clubs try to bolster their squads while avoiding big transfer fees to mitigate the financial damage of the pandemic.
The Premier League landscape is complicated by a three-month hiatus which has seen the 2019-20 season extended through to August, beyond many player’s contracts which typically end on the last day of June.
While some, like Liverpool’s Adam Lallana, are set to temporarily extend their stay until this season’s new finish, others like his teammate Nathaniel Clyne will depart at the end of June and look for a new club to join ahead of 2020-21.
Amid so much uncertainty there will plenty of bargains cropping up over the coming weeks. Here are some of the top players likely to be out of contract and available this summer:
Adam Lallana, 32
The Liverpool midfielder is set to finish the extended season at Anfield, and will likely depart with a Premier League winners’ medal before considering a raft of potential suitors. The financial impact of the pandemic means Lallana will be an extremely attractive free signing for a host of clubs looking for a good deal – Leicester are the early frontrunners to woo him.
David Silva, 34
The Spaniard has said he will depart Manchester City after a sensational decade at the Etihad Stadium, but is yet to choose his next destination. A lucrative offer from Qatar is reportedly on the table, as is a potential move to the MLS following his former Valencia and Spain teammate David Villa across the Atlantic, and he has confirmed he will not be staying in the Premier League.
The Chelsea winger is yet to agree either a long-term or short-term extension and could well become available in the summer. Roma have reportedly made contact about taking him to Serie A.
Chelsea want to keep the Brazilian but are only willing to offer a one-year deal, rather than the long-term contract he desires, and it means he could well depart after a successful seven years at the club.
Jan Vertonghen, 32
The defender is edging towards the exit door, despite Tottenham’s efforts to convince him to join fellow Belgium centre-back Toby Alderweireld in extending his stay.
Angel Gomes, 19
The highly rated teenager remains doubtful of his path to the first team at Manchester United and is set to leave Old Trafford this summer, something which has already generated plenty of interest elsewhere. United would be due some compensation, given Gomes’s age, but his inexperience means the sum would be minimal and he represents a potential bargain.
David Luiz, 33
Arsenal are determined to cut their inflated wage bill, and as one of their top earners the Brazilian will only be offered a reduced deal to stay beyond this season’s conclusion. Luiz’s agent has made clear he wants to stay at the Emirates, but should he become available, there would be plenty of offers for the experienced Premier League winner.
Ryan Fraser, 26
The Bournemouth and Scotland winger has refused to sign a new deal and looks set to depart this summer, with Arsenal leading the race for his signature – though Tottenham have also been linked with a move.
Joe Hart, 33
The former England No1 is still around peak age for a goalkeeper, and in a recent interview insisted he still has what it takes to play at the highest level. His time at Burnley appears to be up, but another move abroad, following a mixed spell at Torino, may offer his best chance of first-team football at a major side.
Jeff Hendrick, 28
The Republic of Ireland midfielder remains valued by Burnley manager Sean Dyche but is facing interest from elsewhere, with Celtic and even AC Milan reportedly chasing him. With his contract expiring, Hendrick faces a decision as to where he spends the best years of his career.
Danny Drinkwater, 30
It has been a strange couple of years in the wilderness for Drinkwater, failing to hold down a place at Chelsea, Burnley and Aston Villa since his departure from Leicester City. But at 30, Drinkwater will still find plenty of Premier League suitors this summer.
Nampalys Mendy, 27
The Leicester City midfielder arrived after N’Golo Kante’s departure but has struggled to hold down a place in the team and looks set to depart. Leeds United are among those clubs linked with the Frenchman.
Ben Foster, 37
Watford have yet to tie down the goalkeeper to another year at Vicarage Road, and while Foster is in the autumn of his career, he is still performing at a level which to make his services very much in demand.
Javier Manquillo, 26
The Newcastle full-back will be out of contract in June and is expected to leave St James’ Park, most likely returning to La Liga.
Andy Carroll, 31
The forward’s contract talks have been stalled by Newcastle’s potential takeover, leaving him in limbo. Carroll is hoping to stay at his hometown club beyond this summer but is still yet to agreed a deal.
Nathaniel Clyne, 29
Having not made a single appearance this season due to a knee injury, and given the emergence of Trent Alexander-Arnold as Liverpool and England’s No1 right-back, Clyne will be looking for a new club when his contract finishes at the end of June.
Leon Balogun, 31
Balogun has not managed to hold down a place in Graham Potter’s Brighton side, and the Nigeria international is likely to be looking for a new club this summer. He has expressed an interest in returning to the place he grew up, Germany, recently saying: “Even if I turn 32 in summer, I still have a few years in my legs. I would also like to continue the experience of England, but the bottom line is that there’s nowhere like home.”
James Chester, 31
Having struggled with injuries at Aston Villa, Chester spent the season on loan at Stoke City in the Championship, and will have plenty of potential options when his Villa contract expires.
Phil Jagielka, 35
The centre-back is yet to extend his contract at Sheffield United, where he has been a fringe player.
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 23
The Manchester-born academy graduate made a brief impact for United under Louis van Gaal, but struggled during various loan moves in the Football League and is set to be released.