Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos and co: The top five free agents available this summer – originally posted on Sportslens.com
For the first time in 17 years, Lionel Messi has become a free agent after his Barcelona contract expired on June 30.
The Catalan giants are optimistic about keeping the Argentine, but they have yet to make any progress over a new contract.
The deal could be complex with La Liga’s new salary cap. Messi would be considered a new signing as per the latest regulations.
The Blaugrana may need to offload players first to reduce their wage bill before handing a new deal to the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
We look at the top five free agents available this summer.
Messi is effectively a non-Barcelona player for the first time in his career, though the Catalan giants are positive about keeping him.
At 34, he remains one of the best (probably the best) in the business. He had a superb campaign last term, registering 38 goals and 14 assists from 47 outings.
The Blaugrana are fancied to seal an extension, but Paris Saint-Germain could be keeping a close eye on the proceedings to pounce on any uncertainty.
Manchester City were heavily linked with him last summer, but they appear to have moved on with their focus on Jack Grealish and Harry Kane.
Bayern Munich are set for a transition period in their defence, with both Boateng and David Alaba leaving the club at the expiry of their contracts.
The World Cup winner made 39 appearances for the Bavarian giants in all competitions last term and was key to another Bundesliga title triumph.
He was still not offered an extension by Bayern as they felt that it was the right time to part company for the younger players to make their mark.
The 32-year-old was disappointed with the decision and will be keen to prove Bayern wrong by winning more silverware elsewhere.
The 35-year-old left Los Blancos after 16 years, and he is now searching for a new club where he has the chance to win more silverware.
PSG have been tipped to land his signature, but there appears competition with Chelsea recently throwing their name in the hat.
The European champions are planning to pair Ramos with Thiago Silva. Both players are in their mid-30s but have shown no signs of slowing down.
After 12 years with Bayern, the French star spent the last two years with Fiorentina in Serie A, registering five goals and 10 assists from 51 outings.
Despite turning 38, the winger has no plans of calling time on his career, and he is certainly not short of offers with interest from Lazio and Sampdoria.
His €4 million annual wages are proving a stumbling block for the latter. Lazio are the front-runners to sign him. Ribery may be tempted with European football on offer.
His former teammate Arjen Robben is also a free agent. The legendary Dutchman is expected to either renew his contract at Groningen or retire for good this time.
Mata has officially gone out of contract with his Manchester United contract expiring on June 30. The club have the option to extend his deal for 12 months.
The Spaniard has been a fringe player for the Red Devils in recent years, but he was restricted to just 861 minutes of playing time last season.
He has been content with his role as the squad player. With hefty wages of £160,000-a-week involved, United could decide against the one-year extension.
Mata could make the switch back to La Liga after a decade in England with Chelsea and United. It won’t come as a surprise if Valencia look to re-sign him.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com