Sun. May 26th, 2019

From Adrien Rabiot to Diego Godin, the top 10 stars who are available to sign for free this summer

Modern-day football is awash with unfathomable riches but that won’t stop even the game’s biggest spenders eyeing up a cut-price bargain.  

Some of the sport’s biggest stars have been made moves for nothing in recent years, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robert Lewandowski and Andrea Pirlo.

And this summer is likely to be no different, with several big names set to become unattached in July.

With bargains to be had, Sportsmail assessed the 10 biggest names who could be snapped up for free at the end of the season.  

Adrien Rabiot, Paris Saint-Germain, midfielder  

Adrien Rabiot is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain after falling out of favour at Parc des Princes

Adrien Rabiot’s relationship with PSG has turned a little sour this season.

The France international fell out with coach Thomas Tuchel and since the turn of the year has found himself training with the reserves after refusing to sign a new deal. 

Since then, he was banned for a month for heading out clubbing after PSG’s shock Champions League defeat by Manchester United, while his mother Veronique told L’Equipe that he is a ‘prisoner’ at the club.

It appears, then, that the 24-year-old is all but certain to leave the French capital when his contract runs out in the summer, and he has been linked with moves to several of Europe’s biggest names. 

Barcelona and Arsenal have repeatedly been linked with the Frenchman. The Gunners will certainly be eager to bolster their ranks with the financial purse-strings set to be tightened once again this summer, while Barca are thought to have a long-standing interest. 

Likely destination: Barcelona

Ander Herrera, Manchester United, midfielder 

Manchester United are not willing to meet Ander Herrera's wage demands and he will leave

Manchester United are not willing to meet Ander Herrera’s wage demands and he will leave

Ander Herrera is a popular figure at Manchester United but a contract dispute has called time on his Old Trafford stay.

The Spaniard appeared to have found a new lease of life under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, after becoming a peripheral figure under former boss Jose Mourinho.

His tenacious midfield play has made him popular with supporters – winning the club’s player of the year award in 2017 – but his contract demands of in excess of £150,000, according to reports, have meant club and player have not seen eye-to-eye about an extension.

Herrera confirmed his departure after five seasons at Old Trafford on Sunday.

‘Playing for the greatest club in England has been a true honour,’ Herrera said in an emotional video. ‘Every time I represented this club, in every game, in wins and losses, even when I couldn’t help from the grass, I understood what this clubs means.’  

Paris Saint-Germain are thought to be willing to met those demands, with the Daily Record claiming a pre-contract agreement has been signed. 

Sportsmail also understands Arsenal hold an interest in the former Bilbao player, should he become available.

Likely destination: PSG    

Vincent Kompany, Manchester City, defender

Pep Guardiola has said sentimentality alone will not award Vincent Kompany a new contract

Pep Guardiola has said sentimentality alone will not award Vincent Kompany a new contract

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany may be regarded as a legend at the Etihad but that does not guarantee him a new contract.

Pep Guardiola warned in January that the club would not reward the 33-year-old with a new deal for sentimental reasons, pointing out that he has played ‘few’ games because of persistent injury problems.

‘He’s incredible but the reality is in the last five years he’s played few, really few,’ said Guardiola.

‘So that is the situation we have to put on the table and the club will discuss it with his agent and make the best decision for both.’

Kompany has won all three domestic titles with City during an 11-year stay, and although injury problems persist, Guardiola continues to turn to the Belgian at key junctures.

The Belgian’s stunning goal against Leicester cemented his legendary status and proved his value on the field for City, while his importance off it could sway Guardiola’s hand. 

Likely destination: Manchester City 

Diego Godin, Atletico Madrid, defender

Diego Godin has enjoyed nine years of success with Atletico but has been linked with Inter

Diego Godin has enjoyed nine years of success with Atletico but has been linked with Inter

Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin has developed into one of the best defenders on the planet under Diego Simeone. 

A stalwart for Atleti’s rearguard approach to the game, his performances have been integral to their stunning success both domestically and on the continent.

The 33-year-old has won every Spanish domestic honour as well as two Europa League titles, although the Champions League has remained elusive, with Atleti enduring two final defeats since he joined the club in 2010. 

But as he enters the twilight of his career, Godin is about to part company after nine years in the Spanish capital. 

On May 7, a tearful Godin confirmed the reports linking him with a move away to the club.

‘I have no regrets,’ he said. ‘In life there are some hard changes but the hardest ones are the ones that make you grow.’ 

A new challenge at Inter appears a probable outcome, with Sky Sports Italia reporting that Uruguayan passed a secret medical with Serie A club back in January.  

Likely destination: Inter

James Milner, Liverpool, midfielder

James Milner continues to be a useful asset for Liverpool but he has not signed a new deal

James Milner continues to be a useful asset for Liverpool but he has not signed a new deal

James Milner has become a crucial utility man for Jurgen Klopp’s title challengers.

He has featured in both full-back positions as well as at the base of midfield, a far cry from his heady days as an adventurous winger.

The Reds have taken full advantage of his years of experience, but even his composed penalty prowess has not yet convinced the Anfield hierarchy to renew his contract.

Milner has 61 England caps, made 698 appearances for Leeds, Swindon, Newcastle Aston Villa, Manchester City and Liverpool while also winning two titles, an FA Cup and a League Cup. 

The 33-year-old is yet to sign on the dotted line and having joined the Reds for free four years ago, he could be about to leave them without a penny changing hands again. 

But after making 44 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool this season, his departure would not be a decision taken lightly.

Likely destination: Liverpool 

Gary Cahill, Chelsea, defender

Chelsea's Gary Cahill will leave Stamford Bridge this summer after seven years of service

Chelsea’s Gary Cahill will leave Stamford Bridge this summer after seven years of service

After seven years at Stamford Bridge, Gary Cahill has played his last game for Chelsea.

The Blues captain has won every domestic honour with the club and signs off after making 290 appearances for the club.

This season has been a lot tougher for Cahill than he expected. Unwanted by Maurizio Sarri, he has featured only intermittently, making just eight appearances in all competitions.

Despite having already secured Champions League qualification, he was only afforded an 89th-minute appearance against Watford earlier this month to say goodbye to the club.  

‘It’s been really terrible for me personally,’ Cahill told the Telegraph.

‘It’s been very difficult. I have played on a regular basis over the previous six seasons and I’ve won everything with Chelsea, so to be watching from the stands is something I didn’t expect.’

He added: ‘I’m ready to go and I leave this club thankful to all the players, staff and fans who have helped me so much, and I go with my head held high.’ 

Sportsmail understands that Burnley lead a host of clubs willing to take a chance on the 33-year-old, who believes he can still play for at least four more years.

Likely destination: Burnley

Juan Mata, Manchester United, midfielder 

Manchester United have offered Juan Mata a new deal according to his father, Juan Mata Sr

Manchester United have offered Juan Mata a new deal according to his father, Juan Mata Sr

Juan Mata was recruited by United as the signing who would reinvigorate David Moyes’ tenure at the club back in January 2013.

The Scotsman lasted three more months but Mata endeared himself to the United faithful with his softly spoken interviews, insightful blog writing and also an admirable determination for footballers to use their enormous wealth for the greater good, through his ‘Common Goal’ initiative.

But the 30-year-old has yet to commit his future to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, although his father admitted in an interview that the club had offered him a new deal.

‘Manchester United have offered to renew us, we are very happy,’ Juan Mata Sr told Cadena SER. ‘But there are proposals from Champions League teams. Spain, maybe, but today is not the day to talk, it is not yet decided.’

Those proposals could include Barcelona according to The Sun, and a return to Spain could be attractive to Mata.

Mata reportedly held talks with Ed Woodward immediately after Untied’s loss against Cardiff last weekend.

With United set to undergo another summer of squad surgery, hopes of silverware may lie elsewhere, and that could sway the diminutive playmaker.

Likely destination: Barcelona 

Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool, forward 

Daniel Sturridge has returned to play his part in Liverpool's title campaign this season

Daniel Sturridge has returned to play his part in Liverpool’s title campaign this season 

Daniel Sturridge’s Liverpool career looked to be all but over when he was carted off to try and salvage West Bromwich Albion’s Premier League status last season. 

An injury-plagued misfit who simply was not suitable to Jurgen Klopp’s hamstring-snapping gegenpressing style, Sturridge looked to be on his way out.

But he has enjoyed something of revival at Anfield and has featured 27 times for the club this season – notching a handful of goals to boot, including a memorable 25-yard curler against Chelsea in September to snatch a crucial point for the Reds.

Yet it remains unlikely that the 29-year-old will be able to dislodge any of Liverpool’s feted front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. 

With a salary in excess of £100,000 per week, it would be a surprise if Liverpool kept him on. 

Sturridge has been linked by The Sun with a move to Leicester City, which would see the England international reunite with Brendan Rodgers. 

Under Rodgers, Sturridge played some of the best football of his career, scoring 22 league goals during the 2013-14 campaign when the Reds narrowly missed out on the title. Rodgers could well be the man to get Sturridge firing again.

Likely destination: Leicester City   

Danny Welbeck, Arsenal, forward 

Danny Welbeck's Arsenal career has been blighted by serious injuries since joining in 2014

Danny Welbeck’s Arsenal career has been blighted by serious injuries since joining in 2014

Injuries have been cruel to Danny Welbeck.

The former Manchester United forward has seen his switch to the Emirates tainted by three serious injuries, which has seen him miss an astonishing 126 matches for the Gunners since joining in the summer of 2014.

Welbeck has suffered serious injuries to both his knees and this season was struck down by a horrific broken ankle in the Europa League in November.

He will miss the rest of this season, meaning new manager Unai Emery has been unable to fully assess the England international.

As a result, the former Sevilla boss has decided to call time on the 28-year-old’s north London stay, revealing after Arsenal’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Brighton that Welbeck will leave the club at the end of the season.

Emery said: ‘I’ve talked to the club and the decision is he’s leaving.’ 

Likely destination: TBC

Yacine Brahimi, Porto, forward

Porto wideman Yacine Brahimi could be a bargain recruit for several Premier League clubs

Porto wideman Yacine Brahimi could be a bargain recruit for several Premier League clubs

Algerian forward Yacine Brahimi has been linked with several Premier League clubs over the past six months.

Watford, Everton and Arsenal have been mentioned in the same conversation as the Porto wideman, and it appears he could well be a bargain acquisition this summer for one of them. 

The 29-year-old looks set for a new challenge this summer with Porto unable to tie him down to a new contract, despite their best efforts to do so, according to Portuguese newspaper A Bola earlier this month.

Brahimi is an effective wide player who can play on either flank – offering creativity and a stable goal-return of around 10 strikes per season. 

He has so far notched 10 goals from 31 league games as Porto fight out a thrilling title contest with Lisbon rivals Benfica.

For clubs with tight budgets, he could prove to be a shrewd signing. 

Likely destination: Everton 

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