Sportsmail's XI of the best big-name players available as free agents

Lionel Messi leads a host of big-names who have become free agents TODAY… so, as clubs scramble to wrap up new deals or swoop in for a bargain, here is the best XI of the stars now available for absolutely nothing

  • The end of June marks the time when the contracts for many players run down 
  • With a host of big names set to leave their clubs, a hectic scramble has begun 
  • Lionel Messi has officially become a free agent as talks with Barcelona continue 
  • Despite the desire from both camps to seal the deal, the situation is unchanged 
  • Sergio Ramos, Jerome Boateng and Franck Ribery are some other free agents 
  • Sportsmail has put together an XI of the very best stars all available for nothing 

July 1 marks that dramatic day of the year where players’ contracts expire and clubs scramble to tie them down in a desperate attempt to stop them leaving for nothing.

For many, it’s a mission taken in vain, with countless stars all too eager these days to publicly announce their desire to move on and chase a new challenge. For those heading for the exit door, the chaos begins now.

This summer is no different, and there is a star-studded array of world-class names currently set to be without a club next season. That will almost certainly change, of course, but for a little while at least, they will be free agents.

One of them, extraordinarily, is Lionel Messi. Talks between his entourage and Barcelona are continuing, but the situation as it stands sees the superstar leaving the club for absolutely nothing. 

So, with this in mind, Sportsmail has put together a team of the best players currently in no man’s land and revealed what the future may hold for them…

A host of big-name players, including Lionel Messi, will are set to become free agents today

GOALKEEPER – GIANLUIGI DONNARUMMA

It will only be for a matter of hours, but Gianluigi Donnarumma has officially left AC Milan for no fee. 

Talks over an extension failed to reach an agreement and the 22-year-old, who made his debut for the club aged just 16, is understood to have attracted lots of attention.

PSG jumped to the front of the queue, though, and reports have indicated that he completed his medical ahead of joining on a five-year deal last week. 

He is currently with Italy at Euro 2020, and has caught the eye when called into action during his nation’s run to the quarter-finals. 

There is no doubting his quality, and PSG will have a very talented stopper on their hands. 

Italy’s talented goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has left AC Milan and looks set to join PSG 

RIGHT BACK – ELSEID HYSAJ

There are several players who have walked away from Napoli, and talented right back Elseid Hysaj is among them. 

His deal has run down and, with no prospect of a renewal in sight, work is already underway to secure him a new home. 

Lazio have been strongly tipped in Italy to swoop for Hysaj, and may even table a five-year contract in a bid to fend off competition from Napoli.  

Maurizio Sarri has taken the reins at the club, and he has past experience with Hysaj, having coached him during his days at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Right back Elseid Hysaj will leave Napoli when his deal runs down, and Lazio may move for him

CENTRE BACK – SERGIO RAMOS

The news that Sergio Ramos would leave Real Madrid quickly filtered through and came as a shock to all. Previously, that notion would have been unthinkable. 

The veteran centre back’s demands were clear, but ultimately the club bid him an emotional farewell after fresh terms failed to materialise.

Now officially a free agent, Ramos has sparked a chase to sign him. 

Leading the way are PSG, who have reportedly stepped up their interest despite being reluctant to give him the two-year deal he wants. 

Manchester City and Bayern Munich have also been linked.

Sergio Ramos failed to agree an extension at Real Madrid and will be in demand this summer

CENTRE BACK – JEROME BOATENG

It feels as though a new era is gradually being ushered in at Bayern Munich, and two of their old guard – Jerome Boateng and David Alaba – have now left. 

With an emotional open letter addressed to supporters, the curtain came down on Boateng’s 10-year stint in Bavaria. 

As speculation swirls around his next move, Boateng has admitted that he has a ‘clear idea’ of where he wants to go.

The likes of Tottenham, AS Monaco and Roma have all been credited with interest.

The former Manchester United target is likely to impress wherever he goes, and his vast experience makes him a very attractive proposition indeed. 

Jerome Boateng is another veteran to have left their club, in his case Bayern Munich

LEFT BACK – RYAN BERTRAND

Another name to have joined the crazy carousel that is free agency is long-standing Southampton left back Ryan Bertrand.

The former Chelsea man’s contract was up at the end of the month, and it was confirmed that he would leave St Mary’s after five permanent years.

Sportsmail previously reported that Leicester have targeted Bertrand this summer, and various other outlets claim the deal has been inching closer.

Arsenal are believed to have weighed up moving for the 31-year-old, while Monaco and AC Milan were also pursuing him. 

Leicester appear favourites to sign Ryan Bertrand when the left back leaves Southampton

CENTRAL MIDFIELDER – JOHN LUNDSTRAM

There was a bizarre time in the Premier League when it felt like John Lundstram scored for Sheffield United almost every week.

However, a turn of events has led to him departing Bramall Lane now his contract is up, and his quest to find a new club has begun.

The relegated outfit announced midway through the season that Lundstram, once their talismanic midfielder, would be leaving.

He also previously rejected an offer of a new deal. 

But despite this, he has made 120 appearances for the club, and enjoyed the best football of his career in recent years. Rangers have been linked with a move.  

John Lundstram has departed relegated Sheffield United and Rangers are said to be interested

CENTRAL MIDFIELDER – JACK WILSHERE

The wait for a settled, long-term home for Jack Wilshere will rumble on this summer after his release from Bournemouth. 

Former Arsenal man Wilshere was enticed back down to the south coast by Jason Tindall, who was promptly sacked, but his spell there was a frustrating one.

Despite the occasional bright performance, Wilshere found himself largely confined to the bench, although his fitness issues in the past didn’t come back to haunt him.

His future is currently unclear, but the 29-year-old has certainly kept a keen eye on events at both the Emirates and England’s Euro 2020 camp. 

Bournemouth opted not to renew Jack Wilshere’s deal, and the midfielder is now on the market

ATTACKING MIDFIELDER – JUAN MATA

With the minutes counting down until his Manchester United contract officially expired, there was still no concrete news on what lay ahead for Juan Mata. 

The little magician’s desire is to stay, according to the Manchester Evening News, and United do have the option to extend his deal for another year.

It was revealed in early June that talks were continuing between Mata and the club, but no more updates have been provided since.

Mata made just 18 appearances last season, having spent a period back in Spain with his late mother, although it would be foolish for United to allow him to slip away. 

Manchester United remain in talks with Juan Mata over a new contract for the wily playmaker

RIGHT WINGER – LIONEL MESSI

First, a disclaimer. There is every indication that Lionel Messi will stay at Barcelona, and that his contract extension will be officially unveiled soon.

However, as it stands, the superstar is now a free agent as the impasse over the deal continues.

As reported by Sportsmail, talks are ongoing between the two camps, and club president Joan Laporta has made the renewal a priority. 

But it is also understood the negotiations are set to run into next week, despite there having been a willingness to have the two-year deal in place by the start of July.

There are a few details that need to be ironed out for Messi’s father and agent Jorge to be fully satisfied.

Confirmation of the U-turn is still expected in the near future, after the 34-year-old told Barcelona last year that he wanted to leave. 

Superstar Messi is expected to officially pen a new contract at Barcelona and make a U-turn

STRIKER – JOSHUA KING

Joshua King’s top-flight career looks to have crumbled in recent days, with the striker having accused Carlo Ancelotti of lying to persuade him to join Everton.

Norway striker King penned a short-term deal at the club in February, with his contract at Bournemouth running down, but his game-time was almost non-existent.

Having made just 11 appearances as a substitute at Goodison Park, the move ultimately proved to be a failure for King – and he took aim at the lack of minutes.

Now, he is currently on holiday in Dubai and waiting for his next adventure. According to VG, Aston Villa, West Ham and Norwich may move for him.

Joshua King has sensationally accused Carlo Ancelotti of lying to persuade him to join Everton

LEFT WINGER – FRANCK RIBERY 

After just two seasons and five goals, Franck Ribery has left Fiorentina and become a free agent. 

In that time, he played just 51 games, and it has been a testing time in the latest chapter of the 38-year-old’s stellar career.

It is said that the forward would have liked to have stayed, but the club decided not to offer him a new deal.

Ribery was typically used as a striker, and his poor goals return has led to a parting of the ways. 

Finding another elite team may prove a bridge too far for him, but the veteran is certainly worth taking a punt on, providing his wage demands are reasonable.  

Franck Ribery, now 38, will leave Fiorentina after a two-year stint, following a mixed spell there

Sportsmail‘s team of the best free agents currently available is pictured, in a 4-3-3 formation




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