According to a report by The Sun on Monday, Chelsea centre-back Andreas Christensen is moving ever closer to a move to Barcelona on a free transfer.
The 25-year-old is out of contract at Stamford Bridge this summer – and is understood to have already agreed personal terms in principle at Camp Nou, having previously rejected Chelsea’s offer of a new five-year deal to stay in west London.
Bayern Munich had also been linked with a swoop for the Danish international, but it appears increasingly likely that La Liga will be Christensen’s next destination after he completed the first part of his medical with Xavi’s side last week.
The remainder of that process is set to be undertaken this week, after which Barcelona and Christensen could technically announce the deal.
If Christensen does land in Catalonia, though, he is likely to be far from the only big name to be involved in a blockbuster free transfer this summer.
The amount of top-tier talent that will be out of contract at the end of June this year is staggering, with some genuine superstars of the game eligible to leave their current clubs without a penny being required in terms of a transfer fee.
With the help of Transfermarkt, we’ve taken a look below at the 20 most valuable players in the world who are out of the contract before the start of next season – and a few sides set to lose some seriously valuable assets for nothing.
The 20 most valuable players who are out of contract this summer
20. Florian Grillitsch (Hoffenheim | £14.4 million)
19. Luiz Felipe (Lazio | £16.2m)
18. Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim | £16.2m)
17. Noussair Mazraoui (Ajax | £18m)
16. Jason Denayer (Lyon | £18m)
15. Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan | £18m)
14. Jesse Lingard (Man Utd | £18m)
13. Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal | £18m)
12. James Tarkowski (Burnley | £19.8m)
11. Matthias Ginter (Monchengladbach | £21.6m)
10. Boubacar Kamara (Marseille | £22.5m)
9. Andrea Belotti (Torino | £25.2m)
8. Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona | £27m)
7. Andreas Christensen (Chelsea | £31.5m)
6. Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea | £31.5m)
5. Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan | £36m)
4. Franck Kessie (AC Milan | £43.2m)
3. Paulo Dybala (Juventus | £45m)
2. Paul Pogba (Man Utd (£49.5m)
1. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain | £144m)
Chelsea could feasibly lose both Christensen and centre-back Antonio Rudiger this summer and their combined value still wouldn’t come to half of the £144m that PSG are set to miss out on at present if French forward Kylian Mbappe walks away from the Parc des Princes for nothing at the end of June.
The Ligue 1 giants reportedly turned down a near-world record offer from Real Madrid to part company with Mbappe last August, but turned it down in the hope that they could convince him to sign a fresh deal at the club.
As of yet, an agreement hasn’t been reached – and time is beginning to run short for the Parisiens.
Elsewhere, Paul Pogba’s future at Manchester United has been the subject of speculation for quite some time. Despite the best efforts of the Red Devils, the 28-year-old hasn’t committed to extending his stay at Old Trafford.
His United colleague Jesse Lingard, meanwhile, is also out of contract and appears likely to leave the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ in a few months.
Other Premier League players who could head for pastures new without the need for a transfer fee include Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette and Burnley defender James Tarkowski.
Chelsea under Abramovich: How well do you remember the last 19 years?
Finally, while Barcelona appear to be in pole position to snag the services of Christensen from next season onwards, La Blaugrana also face losing a pretty valuable player themselves, with unhappy winger Ousmane Dembele shortly free to depart the club for free.
Of course, each of the players featured on the above list could still choose to ink a contract extension with their current employers.
We don’t expect that to happen in too many cases, though, as the footballing world braces itself for a flurry of transfer activity over the summer months.
City destroy United in Manchester derby (Via The Football Terrace)