An XI of Premier League players who could leave on a free transfer in 2022
As former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger predicted in 2017, it is becoming increasingly common for players to go into the last year of their contracts as transfer fees continue to skyrocket.
Accordingly, there are a good number of players about at the moment who are coming towards the end of their deals at their current clubs and could move on for nothing in the summer of 2022 – some of them exceptional players in their prime.
Here, we’ve compiled a team of Premier League players whose current contracts will be set to expire at the end of the season, arranged in a classic 4-4-2 formation.
GK: Hugo Lloris
Since joining from Lyon in 2012, Lloris has gone on to make over 350 appearances for Tottenham and was an integral part of the Spurs sides that pushed for the Premier League title and reached the 2019 Champions League final.
The goalkeeper has become as much of a modern legend at White Hart Lane as any other player in north London can claim – with Harry Kane likely the only Spurs player who can be said to have reached a higher level of greatness at the club over the last 10 years.
Now aged 34, the France international is certainly entering the twilight of his career and with his contract set to expire, rumours have been swirling over a potential move away, with manager Nuno Espirito Santo seemingly in no rush to make a decision on his future.
WHAT. A. SAVE!
— UEFA EURO 2024 (@EURO2024) October 13, 2021
RB: Cesar Azpilicueta
In his 19 years at Stamford Bridge, John Terry was often referred to by fans as “Mr Chelsea” but since his departure in 2017 if anyone has taken up that mantle, it surely must be Azpilicueta.
The Spain international first joined the west London club back in 2012 from Marseille and has since gone on to make a colossal 439 appearances in all competitions.
It has been his relentless consistency that has made the 32-year-old a fan favourite at Chelsea though, with it being difficult to ever pick out a notably bad performance from him during his time at the club.
Now entering the last 12 months of his deal at Stamford Bridge, the defender has begun to attract interest from elsewhere with clubs as big as Barcelona reportedly interested in securing his signature.
CB: Antonio Rudiger
Rudiger has undoubtedly been one of the Premier League’s standout players during the early stages of this season thanks to his superb ball-playing abilities and exceptional positional awareness
Having been at the heart of a defence that has conceded just three times in eight Premier League games, Chelsea will be desperate not to allow the German to leave for free next summer.
Manager Thomas Tuchel certainly seems set on keeping the 28-year-old, recently telling The Mirror: “I hope that they find solutions, but it’s not only between coaches and players, and what we wish for.
“He’s in the strongest league in Europe, in a big club, so not many reasons to change that. But in the end, it’s between him and the club, and that’s in good hands.”
CB: Andreas Christensen
Yet another Chelsea defender, Christensen may also find himself a free agent by the end of the 2021-22 campaign.
The Denmark international first broke into the Blues first team back in 2017 under then manager Antonio Conte and has since become a consistent feature in the line-up, making over 25 appearances in each of the last four seasons.
Despite rumoured interest from Barcelona however, it does seem likely that the centre-back will be staying in West London, having said recently: “It’s hard to say how things will end up. There is a lot of talk. I will not say too much, but I think it looks good. I am happy to be at Chelsea.”
LB: Sead Kolasinac
Since joining Arsenal from Schalke back in 2017, Kolasinac’s time in north London has been anything been but ideal.
Things may have started promisingly for the defender, playing 77 times in the Premier League for the Gunners between 2017 and 2020, but since then he has become somewhat of an outcast at the Emirates.
The 28-year-old has rarely featured under Mikel Arteta – playing just 180 minutes of Premier League football over the last two seasons.
Despite his contract running until the end of this campaign it has begun to appear as if Kolasinac may not even make it that long at Arsenal with reports suggesting that he may be set to join Fenerbahce in January.
RM: Jesse Lingard
At 28, Lingard is still something of a mystery.
It was not too long ago that the midfielder was being talked about as one of English footballs brightest young talents but after a couple of unremarkable, injury-hit seasons he quickly fell out of favour at Manchester United.
Things did appear to be turning around for the 28-year-old though, after a successful loan spell at West Ham last season where he scored nine goals in 16 games – but since his return to Old Trafford, he has again struggled to become a regular in the team.
He has reportedly rejected a new deal with the club due to being frustrated with a lack of playing time and the likes of Barcelona, AC Milan, Newcastle and former club West Ham are all keeping tabs on the player.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 19, 2021
With three Premier League titles in the last four seasons, we are currently going through a period of Manchester City domination in English football and at the heart of the domination has been Fernandinho.
Since signing for the club eight years ago, the midfielder has gone on to play for the club 357 times but his time in Manchester does seem to be approaching its end.
The veteran came very close to leaving the club last summer before signing a one-year extension at the last minute, but with him turning 37 before the end of this campaign it does seem likely midfielder may find himself without a team next summer.
CM: Paul Pogba
Likely the biggest name in this team, the issues surrounding Pogba’s contract at Manchester United have already become one of this season’s most high-profile dramas.
The France international is certainly a highly divisive figure at Old Trafford with his current £290,000-a-week contract making him one of the best-paid players in the Premier League.
The decision on his future at United seems very much in the hands of Pogba however, with the club reportedly set to offer him an extension to his deal which will, according to French newspaper L’Equipe, bump his weekly wage up to around £400,000 per week.
If he was to become a free agent next summer though, it would likely be difficult to find a major European club who were not interested in securing his signature.
💫 The vision from Pogba
🎯 The clinical edge from Greenwood
The perfect response from Man Utd! 👏 pic.twitter.com/OIrcsKN4EQ
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 14, 2021
LM: Todd Cantwell
Local star Cantwell has spent his whole career with Norwich and was a crucial player during the club’s Championship-winning campaign last season.
His performances led to interest from elsewhere, with Liverpool reportedly the current front-runners to sign the 23-year-old should he become available on a free at the end of the campaign.
The situation regarding his contract expiring next summer has also lead to rumours Norwich may be looking to sell the winger in January as opposed to letting him leave for free six months later.
CF: Alexandre Lacazette
Lacazette has never quite managed to cement himself as one of the Premier League’s elite strikers, failing to score more than 15 in a single season.
Now in the last year of his deal, the France international finds himself out of favour at the Emirates under Mikel Arteta and has made just two league appearances so far this season.
It seems as if the 30-year-old has also had enough of life at Arsenal with The Sun reporting that the No.9 has “no interest” in committing to a new deal, with Lyon and West Ham reportedly ready to swoop.
Arteta on whether Lacazette could leave in January: "We are focusing on getting the best out of Laca & he shows every day his commitment is here. We just want to give him the right minutes so that he can show his quality & help the team to do better" #Arsenal pic.twitter.com/GszCPeZMV1
— Gurjit (@GurjitAFC) October 14, 2021
CF: Edinson Cavani
Despite enjoying a successful first season at Manchester United, it was still somewhat of a surprise when Cavani penned a new one-year deal with the club.
Following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and the emergence of teenager Mason Greenwood the striker has begun to see his playing time with the Red Devils diminish, appearing just three times in the league so far this season.
The lack of game has led to a fresh round of rumours that he will be looking to leave Old Trafford when his contract ends in June.
With 370 career goals to his name, it seems unlikely that Cavani will have much trouble finding a new team should he leave.