The most valuable XI available this summer on a free transfer. We have taken our guide from transfermarkt but our words from our brains…
GOALKEEPER: Walter Benitez (Nice)
“I am concentrated. I am calm. We are discussing with the club, with my agent. He is dealing with my future. We will see in a few days,” said the Argentine stopper last month. Wondering why no progress has been made? Well, he has recently switched agents to be represented by Mino Raiola so there’s no sodding way he is staying in the middle reaches of Ligue Un.
RIGHT-BACK: Thomas Meunier (PSG)
Recent reports suggest that Meunier had his heart set on a transfer to Manchester United last summer so rejected a new contract offer at PSG. It seems that there is still a deal on the table but the French club are unwilling to offer a hike in wages despite him being their first-choice right-back. A summer move to Tottenham makes sense but will be dependent on Jose Mourinho securing Champions League football.
CENTRE-HALF: Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham)
He looked like a broken man on the bench as Spurs battled Southampton in the FA Cup, though his agent insisted: “This had nothing to do with his future. It is made a bit too big in my eyes.” His agent also insisted that “the door is still open” for him to stay at Spurs, but Spurs appear to disagree and he will leave this summer for a slower-paced league.
In 2018, Jan Vertonghen was our player of the year, and less than a year ago he had that incredible performance against Dortmund at Wembley, now he looks a shadow of that player.
It’s real sad to see, but by that reaction of him walking off he looked absolutely gutted… pic.twitter.com/RhcxlTxRd1
— The Spurs Web ⚪️ (@thespursweb) February 5, 2020
CENTRE-HALF: Malang Sarr (Nice)
He is just 21 but has played well over 100 games for Nice either at centre-back or left-back, making himself a target for every club in the Bundesliga and Premier League this summer. There has been talk of Sarr joining West Ham, but he is surely destined for greater things, with AC Milan the latest to be linked with a centre-half already (prematurely) compared to the great Maldini.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD: Nemanja Matic (Manchester United)
“I’m at Carrington every day and open to talks if they think I can help, but if not life will go on. No discussions have happened yet, but my position is clear,” says Nemanja Matic. So we fully expect United to carry on steadfastly not engaging in contract talks because they are concentrating on a brighter future with younger players only to panic and offer him a two-year extension in June.
LEFT-BACK: Layvin Kurzawa (PSG)
There was talk of Kurzawa being so close to a January move to Juventus that he had cleared his locker in Paris. How embarrassing to then have to put it all back, stickers and all. He has since re-established himself in the PSG side but remains a likely summer target for both Juve and Arsenal.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD: Blaise Matuidi (Juventus)
Having recently lost his place in the Juventus midfield to Adrien Rabiot – and with Juve fans bemoaning his use in any capacity at all – Matuidi is probably looking forward to the summer when he can walk out of Juventus and into a final, lucrative contract wherever Max Allegri next lays his hat.
Say what you want about Matuidi but at least he makes forward runs, offers width at times, and looks to play the ball wide which all in turn creates space for those around him (mostly Ronaldo). The day Rabiot makes a forward run I think I’ll die
— ⚪️⚫️ (@MonicaLauriola) February 8, 2020
RIGHT MIDFIELDER: Willian (Chelsea)
Willian has been on the verge of moving to Barcelona since pretty much the first second he became a Chelsea player, but it seems like seven years of rumours could culminate in an actual free transfer move to the Nou Camp this summer, though reports from Brazil suggest that Willian wants to remain in London where his family is settled. Spurs it is then…
LEFT MIDFIELDER: Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth)
He has actually had a pretty terrible season after getting giddy about a possible move to Arsenal last summer and then being denied. But he has vowed to get his head down and keep Bournemouth in the Premier League…before swanning off to either Leicester or the Gunners. Or West Ham. It will be West Ham, won’t it?
STRIKER: Dries Mertens (Napoli)
There was talk of both Manchester United and Chelsea in January for the 32-year-old Belgian but will they still be interested in the summer when Mertens is 33 and looking for a last big contract? Inter Milan are already rumoured to be interested, while a stay in Napoli to become a club legend also seems a possibility.
STRIKER: Edinson Cavani (PSG)
“You can feel that Edi [Cavani] is stronger in training at the moment because things are clear after the market. It’s been like that for a few days now,” said PSG boss Thomas Tuchel, who watched the Uruguayan come off the bench to score his third Ligue Un goal of the season at the weekend. Well done, Edi. You would have hated Madrid anyway.