Free agents XI: the best players whose contracts expire this summer

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Following a relatively quiet January transfer window across the big five European leagues, some clubs are already making plans to strengthen their respective squads in the summer.

There are plenty of big names available on a free transfer at the end of this season, giving big-spenders an opportunity to put away their chequebooks and snap up a bargain instead.

Here's a starting XI of the very best free agents this summer.


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Goalkeeper: Steve Mandanda

The Marseille captain has no intention of signing a new deal with the Ligue 1 club and is likely on his way to the Premier League come the summer transfer period.

Mandanda’s refusal to sign a new contract has put the likes of Liverpool, Newcastle and Aston Villa on high alert.

Right-back: Gregory van der Wiel

The Dutch full-back has struggled to tie down a first-team role at Paris Saint-Germain since his arrival in September 2012 and could opt to move on when his current deal expires.

Van der Wiel has arguably failed to fulfil the enormous potential he displayed at junior club Ajax, though he is surely a player of sufficient quality to be given an opportunity to make a more significant contribution elsewhere.

Centre-back: John Terry

The Stamford Bridge faithful have made it loud and clear they want their captain and club legend to extend his 22-year stay at Chelsea, but the ball is very much in the court of the Blues’ hierarchy.

Terry has also stated he wants the chance to hang up his boots in west London when the time is right, but the current state of play suggests he could be forced to part ways with his boyhood club in the summer.

Centre-back: Martin Caceres

The Juventus centre-back has seen his game time whittle away amidst reports of a strained relationship with manager Max Allegri.

Caceres’ current deal is set to expire in the summer and having made just six league appearances for the Serie A giants this season, it would be a huge surprise if he remained in Turin beyond.

Left-back: Yuto Nagatomo

Once a first-choice left-back at Inter Milan, Nagatomo has gradually slipped down the pecking order over the course of a six-year spell at the San Siro.

The 29-year-old is likely to attract a long line of suitors this summer despite making just 12 league appearances under Roberto Mancini this campaign.

Central-midfield: Ever Banega

The Argentine midfielder will be out of contract with Sevilla in the summer and has attracted his fair share of suitors with four goals and two assists in 16 La Liga appearances this campaign.

Banega, 27, is still in the prime of his career and could prove a shrewd acquisition for any club that manages to secure his services should he choose to move on.

Central-midfield: Michael Carrick

Carrick is some way off being one of the first names on the Manchester United team sheet and a series of niggling injuries have certainly not helped his case.

With Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Marouane Fellaini providing stiff competition for starting positions, Carrick’s 10-year career at Old Trafford is set to end this summer.

Central-midfield: Riccardo Montolivo

AC Milan are leaving it late to re-sign an important player who has missed just three league matches for the Serie A powerhouses this campaign.

The 31-year-one playmaker is sure to entice a host of top clubs with his extensive experience at the highest level.

Right-wing: Sofiane Feghouli

Feghouli could prove to be one of the bargains of the summer should he be snapped up on a free transfer.

The Algerian, who has been afforded just 13 La Liga appearances this campaign, would be a useful pick-up for any side in need of a tricky winger.

Left-wing: Hatem Ben Arfa

The former Newcastle winger has featured in all but one of Nice’s league matches and played a significant role in their stunning bid to achieve Champions League qualification this season.

Footage of Ben Arfa’s mazy dribbling skills has sent fans into a frenzy more than once this campaign and the Frenchman has backed up his tricks and flicks with 11 league goals - the same number as PSG striker Edinson Cavani.

With the 28-year-old’s contract winding up at the end of this season, it's difficult to imagine his free agent status would be ignored.

Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ibrahimovic might be 34-years-old but he is still comfortably amongst the best strikers in world football.

The Ligue 1 top goalscorer has helped PSG rise to the upper echelons of Europe and will likely make way for the next crop of superstars when he seeks pastures new this summer as a free agent.

Ibrahimovic has found the net 21 times in 20 appearances this campaign and fans around the world will be salivating at the prospect of their club pinching him on a free.

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