Mbappé, Barco, Rabiot and Dier among the best free agents in 2024


The list of high-profile players whose contracts expire in the summer of 2024 is not as impressive as it was a year ago, but there are still some big-name stars whose future is far from settled.

The saga surrounding Kylian Mbappé’s possible move to Real Madrid continues, although sources have told ESPN that he is in talks to sign a new contract. The usual group of veteran players, such as Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, return as they enter the final year of their contracts, but there are some youngsters who could be left with nothing if they don’t put pen to paper soon.

Here’s a rundown of the most coveted, not including those like Anthony Martial and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who have the club option to extend for another year.

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Kylian Mbappé, 24 years old, forward, Paris Saint-Germain

One of the sagas of last summer. Mbappe signed a new three-year deal in 2022, turning down a free transfer to Real Madrid in the process, but it was later revealed to be a two-year deal with a third year eligible only if the French international activated it. He decided against it and told club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi that he wanted to leave, leading to his exile from the first team during the pre-season tour in Japan.

PSG were open to offers and Al Hilal of the Saudi Arabian Pro League made a world record offer of €300 million, which was accepted by the club but rejected by Mbappé.

Finally, the signing of Mbappé’s friend Ousmane Dembélé and the departure of Neymar for €90 million persuaded the 24-year-old to change his mind. He has agreed to sign new terms, which are likely to contain a release clause of around €100 million to €150 million, so that the club can receive a transfer fee when he leaves. Those terms have yet to be confirmed, so watch this space, but he is likely to be a Madrid player within the next six months. Yeah they will have it.

Adrien Rabiot, 28 years old, CM, Juventus

After months of speculation that he could leave for Man United or Barcelona, ​​Rabiot signed a one-year extension to his contract with Juve in June, but that only delayed a long-term decision on his future. The French international is a key player in Turin (with three goals and three assists in 16 games this season) and fans will want him to sign up for longer.

Luka Modric, 37, CM, Real Madrid

Still strong at 37 years old, Modric arrived at Madrid in 2012 and has won 23 trophies in 11 years at the Bernabéu. The Croatian international is no longer the central force he once was and has additional competition for places from Jude Bellingham, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni and Federico Valverde. However, he is not happy with his playing time, as seven of his 15 league appearances have come off the bench so far, so he does not rule out extending his career to other places.

Meanwhile, Modric’s teammate Toni Kroos is slightly younger (33) but had already considered early retirement before his improved form and fitness over the past two years convinced him to continue playing. However, the German midfielder has made it clear that he will retire at Real Madrid, so no other club will benefit from his skills on a free transfer.

Valentín Barco, 19 years old, LI, Boca Juniors

One of the best young left-backs in the world, Barco’s contract expires in December 2024 and he has already attracted interest from the likes of Brighton, Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool.

The Argentina Under-23 international reportedly has a $20 million release clause in his contract, making his signing possible before his contract expires. However, he could sign terms that would increase his clause and ensure that Boca could benefit a little better from his eventual transfer.

Piotr Zielinski, 29 years old, CM, Naples

Zielinski has been a key player for the Serie A champions since arriving in 2016, but with his next contract likely to be one of his last, he reportedly wants a pay rise. The Polish international has yet to agree a deal with Napoli and is being closely watched by league rivals Inter Milan, who could strike a deal to acquire him for nothing.

Lloyd Kelly, 25, LB/CB, Bournemouth

Bournemouth reportedly rejected a £20million offer from Tottenham to sign Kelly over the summer, and they may regret it if the versatile defender is reluctant to leave for nothing. January could be the club’s last chance to collect a transfer fee and the list of suitors – which now includes AC Milan, Liverpool and Newcastle United – is growing.

Eric Dier, 29, centre-back, Tottenham

Dier appears not to be part of new boss Ange Postecoglou’s plans at Spurs, having played four times this season, once from the start. Bayern were linked, after signing former teammate Harry Kane for €100m, while Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth and Fulham showed interest from the Premier League this summer. He could run out of contract and leave for free, but it’s unlikely he’ll get much playing time for the rest of the season.

Thiago, 32 years old, CM, Liverpool

Liverpool overhauled their entire midfield this summer, but the 32-year-old may also find himself sent out the exit door when his contract expires. Injuries have limited his impact, although the Spain international brings valuable experience to a midfield that now lacks it. The Saudi Pro League has poached several players from Anfield in recent months, and could also be a future destination for Thiago.

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