All good things come to an end. A lot of football clubs, football players, and fans of those players and clubs are going to find that out in summer 2023 because the contracts of some of the best-known and most successful soccer players in the world are due to come to an end. While there’s still a chance that they’ll sign new deals, the reality is, in the majority of cases, that if a new contract were going to be signed, it would have happened already. That means there will be a lot of valuable players available free of charge when the transfer windows open. It also means it’s going to be a very exciting time to be a soccer player!
Most of the players who will be out of contract are coming toward the end of their successful careers, but that doesn’t mean they’re done just yet. Each of them has at least a year or two to play at the highest level if they want to, and so it will be interesting to see where they go and who might come forward to take them. Let’s not waste any more time setting things up, though – let’s get right into the thick of it with some of the biggest potential bargains of the summer 2023 transfer window!
We’re starting in the most obvious place with Lionel Messi, a man considered by many to be the greatest player ever to grace a pitch. His contract with Barcelona is expiring, and his twenty-year-plus stay at the club is coming to an end. If you’re able to predict where he’s going next successfully, it might be a good time to hit up an online slots website such as Rose Slots because your luck is clearly in. Actually, that might be more of a Cristiano Ronaldo thing. Ronaldo’s likeness has been used to promote online slots before. Messi’s has not. At one point, it looked like a sure thing that he would move to Manchester City, and then a reunion with Neymar at Paris Saint Germain was suggested, but it now appears more likely that he’ll take the ‘preparing for retirement’ path of moving to America. It’ll feel a lot like an enormous online slots win for whichever American team signs him because of the subsequent shirt sales and sponsorship opportunities, but it feels like an anti-climatic way for the Argentine to end his career if that’s the way it plays out.
Our next free agent is another legend of the Spanish league. Sergio Ramos has been holding Real Madrid’s defense together for more than a decade, but he won’t be doing so for much longer. It appears that at the age of 35, he’s no longer wanted at the Bernabeu, and he’ll be allowed to ply his trade elsewhere. There have been some reports that he’s been told he’s allowed to speak to English Premier League clubs, with a reunion with his former coach Jose Mourinho at Tottenham Hotspur touted as a possibility. He could also take his career full circle by going home to Sevilla. Given his recent bad luck with injuries, though, he might decide to retire rather than taking a step down from where he’s spent his best years.
Ramos isn’t the only club legend who’ll be moving on from Real Madrid this summer. Croatian midfielder Luka Modric – a former Ballon d’Or winner – has also come to the end of his stay in the Spanish capital. Eyebrows were raised when he joined the club from Tottenham Hotspur in 2012, but nine years later, he’d proven to be an excellent acquisition. Midfielders tend to find it harder to stay at the top level in their mid-30s than players in any other position, though, and at 35, it’s clear Modric has far fewer top-tier games ahead of him than he does behind him. It’s all a question of what he does with that information. While a return to Spurs is rumored every summer, it’s unlikely that Jose Mourinho would want him there. A move to Italy, where the pace of the game is slower, might suit him better. Inter Milan have been signing a lot of older talent recently, and Modric might make an ideal acquisition for them.
Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero isn’t just the best striker in Manchester City history; he’s one of the best strikers in Premier League history. His goal-to-game ratio is incredibly high, and his total goal haul would be even higher than it already is had he not struggled so much with injuries during the past four seasons. It appears to be those injuries that have caused City to hesitate about offering him a contract extension, and time is running out to keep the legend tied down to the Etihad Stadium. Aguero joined City as a 23-year-old in 2011 and has always said he’d like to return home and finish his career in Argentina before he was too old to do so. He once indicated that he’d do that before he turned 30, but he’ll be 33 in June, and he’s still in Manchester. If he’s ever going to go back home, now’s the time. If he doesn’t, expect him to stay put.
It was said of AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma that he would become the world’s greatest goalkeeper even before he made his debut for the club. He’s still only 21, and he’s already well on his way to earning that title. He’s played over 200 games for the Rossoneri and has over 20 caps for the Italian national team to his name. For a player of his age, that’s an incredible record, but it’s becoming increasingly likely that he’ll never make it to 300 appearances for his current club. His agent Mino Raiola is agitating for a move, and although Juventus has been suggested as a destination, a move to the English Premier League with Chelsea may be more realistic. The London-based club was stung when it broke the world record transfer fee for a keeper by singing Kepa, only for the Spaniard to turn out to be a dud. His replacement Edouard Mendy has struggled for form, too. Donnarumma would be a significant upgrade without the need for a transfer fee to be paid, which would be Chelsea’s ideal solution.
Other players will also be looking for new clubs this summer, including Juan Mata, Julian Draxler, and possibly Georgino Wijnaldum, but the five players we’ve highlighted above appear to be the pick of the bunch. Where will they go? Will they go anywhere at all? Stay tuned and find out this summer!