Every year, a list that is keenly noted by various clubs around the globe is that of the upcoming free agents.
Knowing exactly which players could be available for free during the next window can be of critical importance to the transfer plans for many clubs. Also, a free transfer represents an ideal 'low risk, high benefit' deal for the buying clubs. With this in mind, here's a list of the best players who will potentially be available for free come next summer.
15. Esteban Cambiasso (Inter Milan): After a couple of years under the radar, the Argentine Cambiasso has once again been thrust into prominence under Walter Mazzarri this term, as Inter continue to improve. The Argentina international has been in fine form as well and has been central to everything Inter have achieved this season, and has also found a previously absent magic touch in front of goal, having scored five times in the league so far this season.
14. Martin Montoya (Barcelona): The Spain international is a player who is highly likely to make a move for free next summer, as he is finding playing time hard to come by at Camp Nou. The classy right back, who mixes the right amount of attack and defence, is sure to prove a good piece of business for anyone who ends up getting his signature.
13. Marc Bartra (Barcelona): Even though he is out of contract in the summer, Bartra is unlikely to be on the move this summer as he has repeatedly stated his desire to extend with the Catalans. Combining a good reading of the game with impressive defensive ability, Bartra has been one of the most improved players for the Blaugurana this season. And after finally being thrust into a prominent role this season under Gerardo Martino, and his stellar performances whenever he has been called upon, it seems all the more unlikely that the youngster will be going anywhere in the near future.
12. Miroslav Klose (Lazio): The veteran Germany striker has defied age as he continues to shine for Lazio even at the ripe old age of 35. And the German might be feeling up to yet one more challenge yet, as he reaches the twilight of his career. A classical 'fox in the box', Germany's record international goalscorer is one of modern footballs best poachers and is sure to be in high demand at the end of the season.
11. Raul Garcia (Atletico Madrid): One of the most pleasant surprises for Atletico Madrid in their impressive season so far has been the form of midfielder Raul Garcia. For a player who was deemed not worthy of even a place in the substitutes bench in the season opener against Barcelona, Garcia has definitely come a long way to develop into one of their most influential players. However, his prominent role in the Atletico team this season makes a contract extension more likely than a transfer at the end of the season.
10. Bacary Sagna (Arsenal): The French international right back has been a constant presence in the Arsenal starting lineups of recent years. The classy right back, known for his accurate crosses from the right will surely be missed if he opts not to renew with the Gunners.
9. Ignazio Abate (AC Milan): Even though AC Milan are having a hugely underwhelming season by their standards, one payer who has always put in a performance despite the erratic form of his teammates is Ignazio Abate. Often described as Serie A's fastest player, the Italian is a mixture of the right amounts of offensive grit and defensive brilliance. Currently his country's first choice on the right side of defence, Abate will find no shortage of suitors come the end of the season.
8. Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United): The Manchester United captain has not been in the best of forms over the past season and a half, and thus finds himself a lowly eighth in this list. Even though he's been less imperious a figure in recent years than we're used to seeing, he still remains a top quality defender. Strong in the air and with a supreme reading of the game, the Serbian is gathering admiring glances from across the continent.
7. John Terry (Chelsea): After being handed a hugely peripheral role under Rafael Benitez last season, the Chelsea captain has once again been central to everything Chelsea have done this season, having started every match of the league campaign so far under Jose Mourinho. And with the kind of form that he's in, one simply cannot see why Chelsea wont be too happy to give him a contract extension. So at the moment, terry does not look to be going anywhere.
6. Victor Valdes (Barcelona): One player in this list who looks to be sure of leaving is Barcelona and Spain goalkeeper Victor Valdes, who has openly admitted that he wants to test other pastures. And this season, Valdes looks to be giving the perfect parting present to the club he has been with since his childhood days - by putting in week after week of solid performances between the posts. Once a much malignes player, Valdes' form over this season has ensured that his will be one of the most sought after signatures over the next few months.
5. Frank Lampard (Chelsea): Another evergreen Chelsea player who makes this list is midfielder Frank Lampard. Chelsea's record goalscorer has once again defied age this season to feature prominently for the Blues. The 35-year-old has appeared in 18 matches this season in the league for the Blues, contributing four goals and three assists. And as the midfielder continues to produce more displays like the ones he produced last season to convince billionaire owner Roman Abramovich to give him a contract extension, one gets the feeling that Abramovich will only be too happy to once again offer him the same this time around as well.
4. Patrice Evra (Manchester United): Manchster United's most regular starter over the past two seasons, Patrice Evra has once again been in good form this season, despite his club's well documented failings. In fact, the Frenchman is the league's top tackler so far this season, and has once more established his status as one of the top wing-backs in the game today. And Evra could well be on the move come the end of the season, with old club - newly rich Monaco - reportedly being interested in acquiring his services.
3. Ashley Cole (Chelsea): Another top class left-back who could be available for free at the end of the season is Chelsea's Ashley Cole. The classy left-back who has inexplicably been sidelined to the substitutes bench in north London in recent weeks, has however firmly established himself as one of the top defenders in the game.
2. Andrea Pirlo (Juventus): The midfield magician from Turin is yet another player who has still not worked out a new contract with his current club. However, given the importance of the Italian to the brand of football played by Juventus, and the midfielder's reported eagerness to stay on at the club, it seems likely that Pirlo will continue to ply his trade with the Italian Champions next year as well.
1. Robert Lewandowski (Borussia Dortmund): In what will definitely be a killer blow to competition in German football, Dortmund's talisman Lewandowski has confirmed that he will be moving on to join their direct rivals Bayern Munich when is contract runs out at the end of the season. The explosive forward, who combines intelligent positioning with excellent finishing and movement off the ball, is sure to add even more firepower to an already frightening Bayern Munich frontline.
Notable Mentions: Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham), Younes Kaboul (Tottenham Hotspur), Aaron Hunt (Werder Bremen), Diego (Wolfsburg), Claudio Pizzarro (Bayern Munich), Javier Zanetti (Inter Milan), Diego Milito (Inter Milan), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City)
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