Some of football's biggest names are into the final year in their contract and while the likes of Aaron Ramsey, arguably Arsenal's most consistent player over the last few years, have been taken away for free already, a plethora of talent awaits to be scooped by the big names this summer, some of them surprisingly very young while most of them in the final stretch of their glorious careers.
Over the years we have seen players like Sami Khedira, Michael Ballack, Andrea Pirlo and even Robert Lewandowski get transferred for free and go on to become legends for their new clubs. Be it a feud between the management and player, young players having outgrown their first clubs, veterans having become surplus to requirements or simply players looking for new challenges, free transfers are always exciting. So here is a list of players who'll be free agents in the coming summer.
Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery
Name a more iconic duo, we'll wait. It just didn't seem fair to list these two players separately. Both of them have played together for Bayern wreaking havoc on either wing and have been labelled 'Robbery,' an ode to their seemingly cheap transfer fees when placed in comparison with their talent and achievements.
Together, they have steered Bayern to their most successful decade ever and won 13, likely to be 14 soon, titles for the club, while scoring 266 goals and laying on a ridiculous 284 assists between them. Both the players have confirmed they'll keep playing and clubs will be on the lookout for them as the two still constantly play at the highest level putting top defenders to shame. Bayern has already declared a farewell match in their honour scheduled for next year.
He is one of the very few players who has seen the transition of Manchester City from relegation threatened lower table club to one of Europe's best, and in the process has become the very face of the club. He is one of the Premier League's greatest defenders ever, and arguably the club's greatest ever, having led them to multiple Premier Leagues, League Cups and even a solitary FA Cup.
"We don't have any doubts about his quality - we miss him when he is not able to play. He's important, he is our captain and on the field he gives us extra that few central defenders around the world can give us," said Pep Guardiola, acknowledging that Kompany still has a lot to offer.
While having struggled with injuries this season, whenever he has played he has been nothing short of a world class defender. And while most top defenders these years come along with ridiculous price tags, a few clubs would want to let up on this golden opportunity to sign him for free.
With the talent he has showcased at times, he might as well be the first name on the team sheet for some of Europe's elite clubs. However, he has been inconsistent throughout his career, a big reason being the injuries that have littered it. First coming to the spotlight as a teenager at Manchester City, he has gone on to have underwhelming spells at Chelsea and Liverpool.
This season, he has made sporadic appearances for the club, and it a known fact that these are nothing but farewell appearances now. Liverpool already have a great team and he no longer fits into the plans. Still 29, he still has a chance of reviving his career on the back of the talent he possesses and the experience he has garnered.
Having scored a decent 10 international goals, clubs in the Premier League have been sniffing around to snoop him and hope for him to do justice to the footballing gift he has been granted by God.
While his footballing ability has produced magical moments in the past, it is his off field antics that have more often stolen the spotlight. Having made his name playing for Inter, he left after constant disciplinary problems and joined Manchester City where he assisted Aguero for the historical goal against QPR in the last minute of their title winning campaign. He was forced to leave after being involved in a fight with then manager Mancini after having received his fourth red card in the season. This has been pretty much the pattern his entire career.
The Golden Boy award winner has played for illustrious clubs like A.C. Milan and Liverpool since, but hasn't been able to sturdy himself for long. However, he is having a late resurgence to his career, after a fine spell at Nice and then having scored 8 goals in 12 games for his current employer Marseille.
Incredibly talented, as is evidence by 100+ club and 14 international goals, Super Mario is finally returning back to his best and is easily a world class player on his day, something a lot of clubs could do with.
Catapulted to fame by consistent performances for Spanish side Valencia and then going on to become a superstar for Chelsea winning their Player of the Year award twice in a row, it has all gone downhill for Juan Mata ever since he joined the Red Devils.
The Real Madrid Castilla product has had good spells at the club, being awarded their player of the month award multiple times and even being the stand in captain. However, he has constantly struggled to become a regular in the first XI, with even consistent performances not being enough to win the confidence of the managers. He has had to play out of position often, being played on the wings even though he has excelled at his preferred no.10 role.
Frustrated by the limited game time, Mata with 41 International caps has rejected the contract extension offered at United as Ole continues to persuade him to stay. While Brighton have offered him a 2 year contract, he is likely to return to his first professional club Valencia and play out his final years.
He is only 24, and was pipped to be football's next big thing not that long ago, a claim he could still follow up on since he has time on his hands. Failing to agree terms with PSG with a dispute over wages, the French star is headed out of the club for sure in the summer.
Clubs like Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Inter, Arsenal, Tottenham and Barcelona are reported to be interested in his services, not to forget Juventus who always are on the lookout of free transfers, a niche they have mastered over the years. However, a very high wage demand means clubs like Spurs are unlikely to break their wage structure while it has also displeased Spain's big two.
Currently, Arsenal is the frontrunner for his signature as they look to make up for Ramsey's departure, even though they are also concerned with the high amount of wages he is demanding and the fact he reportedly had made a comment that Liverpool are the only English club that are worthy of him. This type of attitude might mean Rabiot ends without a club come the end of summer.
The 33 year old Brazilian fullback has been given constant playing time by Diego Simeone this season and the veteran has taken the opportunity with both hands, showing that he has enough quality to last a few more years in Europe's top leagues.
After a failed stint at Chelsea, the Brazilian has revitalized his career over the last seasons with the Rojiblancos but reports claim that the star feels it is finally time to move on. Although an initial attempted deal by PSG fell through, they are still in the running for him among other big clubs trying to secure his signature.
He has 38 international caps and over 200 appearances for Atletico, and could be a valuable addition to most teams because of his experience and ability.
The German veteran has had a long career, having played for some of the biggest clubs in Germany. He has had successful stints with Mönchengladbach and Wolfsburg, and has been in fine form for Werder Bremen this season.
Named the club captain, he only recently turned 31 and is a deadly striker who has never played league football outside Germany. He currently has the longest penalty streak with 24 goals, not having missed one in 6 years.
He is reported to have a number of suitors trailing him, with Premier Club Crystal Palace the nearest to offering him a contract and become his first club outside his home country for who he has scored 4 goals.
A revelation at Athletic Bilbao, the midfielder is for large parts massively underrated. A proper box-to-box, he has an eye for the final ball and is always bursting with energy. Hs has in the past been compared with and praised by United legend Paul Scholes himself.
Still only 29 and a player with very high stamina, Herrera's career is far from over. Disliking the fringe role that he's had to play at times at United and with the chance of playing Champions League football next year over, he looks set to move to new pastures.
The dynamic midfielder has been linked with PSG as per a French publication which reports the deal to be almost final. However, there are also strong rumours that Herrera will return to his former club Bilbao in the summer. Named United's player of the year two seasons ago, he will be an exciting addition to any team.
These are not all. While players like Giroud and Luiz are set to renew their contracts although presently it ends in the summer, Godin is all but set to join Serie A side Inter with an official announcement imminent. Another exciting talent like Hatem Ben Arfa, Yacine Brahimi and Herrera are also most likely to be available in the market for free. It is going to be an exciting summer transfer window with clubs looking to pull of coups such that they could strengthen their squad for free this summer, and the race to sign these players is in its final stretch. Juventus, we're waiting.