The blockbuster free transfers that could happen this summer
With the January transfer window a distant memory, clubs are now thinking ahead to the business that they can do in the summer.
Those that are prudent will be paying special attention to the players that will be available for free at the end of the season.
2023 looks set to see an unusually high number of top-quality footballers who will be out of contract.
We have taken a look at the brightest talents that could be snapped up on the cheap once the current campaign comes to a close.
Premier League options
There are some big names that could leave Premier League clubs for free. Liverpool alone could see the contracts of Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain expire.
Manchester United have a big decision to make regarding the future of goalkeeper David de Gea, while neighbours Manchester City are hoping to persuade Ilkay Gundogan to stay.
Two of the biggest talents likely to be available are Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans. Both have been linked with top suitors in recent seasons and are likely to get moves.
When it comes to attacking weapons, Nottingham Forest midfielder Jesse Lingard, Tottenham livewire Lucas Moura and Wolves powerhouse Adama Traore could all be available for nothing.
A player heavily linked with a January transfer was Borussia Monchengladbach striker Marcus Thuram. The Frenchman stayed put and will have his pick of clubs in the summer.
Barcelona are reported to have already secured the signing of Evan Ndicka. The Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back had been linked with the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and United.
Another Frankfurt talent set to leave in the summer is Daichi Kamada. The Japanese forward has scored 13 goals this season, including three in the Champions League.
Two freebies expected to stay in Germany are RB Leipzig midfielder Konrad Laimer and Algerian defender Ramy Bensebaini, currently at Monchengladbach. Laimer looks set to move to Bayern Munich, with Bensebaini destined for Borussia Dortmund.
LaLiga free agents
Real Madrid have seven players whose contracts are set to expire in the summer, including Marco Asensio, Karim Benzema, Dani Ceballos, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric and Nacho.
All are expected to stay, but striker Mariano Diaz will be shown the door. Across town, Atletico Madrid must decide on the future of Axel Witsel.
A big name that might leave Barcelona is midfielder Sergio Busquets. The one-club man has been heavily linked with a switch to MLS and would have to take a pay cut to remain at the Camp Nou.
Another veteran whose contract is expiring is Real Sociedad maestro David Silva. Meanwhile, Athletic Bilbao’s 31-year old centre-back Inigo Martinez has enough in the tank to land a big transfer.
Serie A search
Inter Milan centre-back Milan Skriniar looks certain to sign for Paris Saint-Germain this summer and partner Stefan de Vrij could also leave, though the Nerazzurri are fighting to retain him.
Chris Smalling has been linked with a move to the San Siro as a replacement having stalled on signing a new contract at Roma. A return to the Premier League is another possibility for the English central defender.
Roma have two forwards heading towards the end of their deals in Andrea Belotti and Stephan El Shaarawy.
Perhaps the biggest battle of the summer involving a Serie A player will be for the services of Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot. The French international impressed at the World Cup and has many Premier League admirers.
Lionel Messi ticked the final box of his career achievements when he lifted the World Cup. PSG are keen to keep him but he might be tempted by David Beckham’s Inter Miami, or a return to Barca could beckon.
Sergio Ramos does want to stay in Paris and it is now up to the French champions to decide if they will extend the 36-year-old’s contract.
It remains to be seen as to whether Ross Barkley and Aaron Ramsey will get to continue their spell at Nice. Marseille ace Alexis Sanchez is another former Premier League talent who could be leaving Ligue 1.
If clubs are looking for younger players that could leave the French top flight, then Lyon No8 Houssem Aouar and centre forward Moussa Dembele might fit the bill. Lille winger Jonathan Bamba, 26, will also be out of contract.