Some serious players are on the market

The 8 biggest ballers with release clauses in their contract this summer: Sesko, Olise…

Some of football’s biggest and brightest shining stars might be a more attainable buy than you think this summer, thanks to release clauses.

It’s a dying art, is the release clause. Add-ons this, agent fees that, transfer sagas have become mind-numbingly boring in recent years and all too predictable.

The release clause, however, adds an extra layer of spice to any transfer window. Just when a club thinks they’re heading in the right direction, they lose their best player and there’s nothing they can do to stop the surprise deal.

With the summer transfer window in full swing and both Euro 2024 and Copa America giving players another platform to advertise themselves to potential buyers, we’ve rounded up all of the most high-profile ballers who are available for transfer via a simple release clause this summer.

Michael Olise

Getting the most obvious one out of the way, the chase for Olise began in the summer of 2023, but after staying put at Crystal Palace for another season, interest in the right winger has only intensified after a stellar 2023-24 campaign.

Olise’s current contract with Palace contains a £35million release clause which has been widely reported and was actually activated by Chelsea last summer, before Olise chose to stay put at Selhurst Park.

He’s expected to move this summer, though, with Chelsea and Manchester United battling for his signature.

Eberechi Eze

Despite their resurgence under Oliver Glasner and a glimpse at what might be under the German, it could end up being a long summer for Palace with both of their most influential players having release clauses in their contract.

Eze’s current contract – signed in November 2023 – does contain a release clause according to David Ornstein of The Athletic, with other reports suggesting it sits at around £60million.

However, it is believed that it can only be triggered by clubs competing in the Champions League and isn’t the most straightforward to activate.

Still, for a player of Eze’s quality at just £60million, we struggle to see a world where it isn’t activated.

Paulo Dybala

Rather astoundingly, Dybala is available to leave Roma for as little as €12million – just over £10million – this summer, thanks to a release clause valid until 31 July.

Largely a massive hit since joining Roma for free from Juventus in 2022, Dybala has finished the 2023-24 season with 16 goals and 10 assists in all competitions and is playing some of the best football he’s played in years.

For many, the chance to build on that at Roma under the watch of Daniele De Rossi would be the sensible option. But the Argentine is now 30 and with reported interest from the Premier League, there could be chance of him making one last big switch in his career.

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Joao Neves

The football hipsters love this kid and probably for good reason. Strutting his stuff with Benfica, Neves has been an absolute revelation at the base of their midfield and has attracted interest around Europe as a result, with United apparently sniffing around him rather closely.

Unfortunately for the Red Devils, they’re likely to be priced out of a deal, even with a release clause active. Neves’ clause sits at a reported €120million, which equates to around £105million.

That might ultimately be worth it in the long run for the tucked-shirt 19-year-old maestro, but not many clubs have that just lying around.

Benfica will be rather happy with the fact they’ve managed to protect their asset with such a lofty clause. It’s a win-win for them.

Ian Maatsen

A club who probably won’t be happy with how they’ve valued their asset after his recent resurgence, Chelsea inserted a release clause of just £35million into Maatsen’s contract when he inked a new deal with the club in January 2024, before being loaned to Borussia Dortmund.

After a brilliant season in the Championship with Burnley in 2022-23, most expected the left-back to slot straight into Chelsea’s first team for the 2023-24 season.

He started just once, though, and has since proven his worth again in Germany, helping Dortmund to a Champions League final.

Even if Dortmund are unable to activate his release clause, we’ve little doubt that another club will. They’d be silly not to. Chelsea are on the cusp of losing a very talented young footballer.

Martin Zubimendi

Back to trendy midfielders for a moment, Zubimendi has been linked with Arsenal to seemingly no end and if you’ve watched him strut his stuff for Real Sociedad, it’s clear to see why.

The 25-year-old has quietly become one of the best in class when it comes to the defensive midfielder role.

Capped five times for Spain, Zubimendi’s current contract with Real Sociedad contains a €60million release clause according to Fabrizio Romano,

With players getting more expensive and elite defensive midfielders who can also shift the ball an increasingly rare breed, that’s a steal for anyone who can activate it.

Activating it is the difficult part, however. From the Basque country, Zubimendi has spent his entire career so far at Sociedad and it appears he’s shown reluctance to leave the club so far. We admire his loyalty, but we’d also love to see him at the elite level.

Cesc Fabregas has helped Como reach Serie A.

READ: 5 famous European clubs we can’t believe have been promoted in 2023-24

Goncalo Inacio

What’s more trendy and hip than stylish midfielders? Ball-playing defenders. Especially ball-playing defenders with a name as cool as Goncalo Incacio.

In fact, for a name like that, a €60million release clause feels daylight robbery – and that’s before we’ve even considered his ability on the pitch.

The 22-year-old is being linked with a move to the Premier League – namely with Liverpool and United – and Sporting CP wouldn’t be able to do a thing about it if the release clause is coughed up. We think he’ll be on the move.

Benjamin Sesko

Finishing with a big, handsome striker who loves nothing more than smashing the ball into the back of the net, it’s both the sexiest and most difficult thing to do in football, hence why such profiles often come at a premium.

Not Sesko, though. The young centre forward is on the market with a release clause of around €65million this summer, prompting interest from the usual suspects around Europe.

At just 21, the Slovenian is incredibly raw, but has the tools and the ceiling to become one of the best in the game and has finished the season strong with seven goals in his last seven Bundesliga games for RB Leipzig.