Transfer fees have risen dramatically over the last few years – but a free transfer can be just as influential as a big-money signing.
As any Football Manager player worth their salt knows, now is the time to start negotiating with players entering the final six months of their current deals.
We’ve looked at several high-profile players who are out of contract in 2020, and it includes some former World Cup and Balon d’Or winners.
Foster turns 37 at the end of the season, but the veteran is producing incredible performances that defy his age on a weekly basis for Watford.
The goalkeeper has played an integral role in Watford’s recent resurgence and made more saves than any other Premier League stopper in the 2010s. He’s also one of football’s good guys.
— Adam Smithy (@AdamJSmithy) December 14, 2019
Meunier is always in and out of the PSG first team and is currently competing with Colin Dagba and Thilo Kehrer for the right-back spot.
The defender has over 100 appearances in all competitions for the French giants but has previously been linked with moves to Manchester United, Chelsea and Everton.
“There was interest and there have been conversations, but it never came to a point where I had to decide: Do I sign or not? Always one of the parties did not agree,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws.
“I could have signed with Everton – a good club. I would have played a lot, that’s for sure, and had a lot of fun too. But Everton doesn’t play in European competition.”
Vertonghen is one of Spurs’ longest-serving players having signed from Ajax in 2012 for £12million, and the defender has made over 300 appearances for the club.
Like many Tottenham players, the Belgian has somewhat lost his way in recent months, meaning a change of scenery – Napoli and Ajax have been linked – could be on the cards.
Silva joined PSG from AC Milan for £36million in 2012, and the Brazilian is now into his seventh season at the Parc des Princes.
The defender has helped transform the French side into one of the best teams in Europe, winning six Ligue 1 titles with the club.
Silva is now coming to the end of his career, but the 35-year-old would provide some brilliant experience and leadership in defence.
Kurzawa signed for PSG from Monaco in 2015, and the France international become the first defender to score a hat-trick in the Champions League in 2017.
The left-back has lost his place in the side to Juan Bernat, meaning he has only made five starts in Ligue 1 this season.
Matuidi was expected to be a squad player when he left PSG for Juventus in 2017, but the 32-year-old has become a mainstay in their midfield.
Despite being expected to depart in the summer following the signings of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot, the box-to-box midfielder has played in 16 Serie A games so far this season, although his long-term future is yet to be resolved.
Modric moved to Real Madrid in 2012, and the midfielder has won four Champions League titles and a La Liga trophy with the Spanish side.
The 34-year-old established himself as one of the best midfielders in the world, winning the Ballon d’Or and Golden Ball award in 2018.
Recent reports have linked Modric with a switch to MLS amid mooted interest from DC United.
Luka Modric on winning the balón d’Or: “Winning these individual titles is something impressive, especially today with Messi and Cristiano, it's something incredible, I'm very happy, it's a compliment to my career.” pic.twitter.com/gmFTLFtnX3
— SB (@Realmadridplace) June 11, 2019
The skilful winger has become part of the furniture at Chelsea since turning down Tottenham and arriving from Anzhi Makhachka in 2013.
Willian has made over 300 appearances for the club, and the Brazilian has helped them win two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the Europa League.
He has enjoyed a resurgence in recent months under Frank Lampard, telling Yahoo Sport in December: “I have stated several times my wish is to stay at Chelsea. I like the club very much, I feel very welcomed here, as well as my family, and we love living in London.”
Willian added: “My agent and the club are talking and I hope we can have some good news soon.”
AM: Christian Eriksen
Eriksen joined Spurs from Ajax in 2013, and the Danish playmaker has established himself as one of the Premier League’s best attacking midfielders, despite suffering amid the general uncertainty around Tottenham this season.
He was heavily linked with a move away from the club during the recent transfer window, but a move failed to materialise and he remained at Spurs.
“I feel that I am a place in my career where I might want to try something new,” Eriksen told Ekstra Bladet in the summer.
“I have the wildest and deepest respect for everything that has happened in Tottenham, but I have also said that I would like to try something new.”
Last season Fraser scored seven goals and created 14 more for Bournemouth, with only Eden Hazard (15) registering more assists in the Premier League.
His performances saw him linked with moves to Arsenal and Liverpool, and while the 25-year-old has been unable to recapture the superb form he showed in the last campaign, plenty of clubs will still be interested when his contract expires in the summer.
Cavani is yet another PSG player who has just a few months left on their current contract.
The striker has been a revelation for the French side since joining them in 2013, scoring 198 goals in 291 appearances.
However, the 32-year-old has struggled for opportunities this season following Mauro Icardi’s arrival from Inter Milan in the summer.
Notable absentees: Diego Lopez, Eric Bailly, David Silva, Adam Lallana, Fernandinho, Evar Banega, Mario Gotze, Dries Mertens, Jose Callejon, Olivier Giroud.