There are now just weeks to go until all players with expiring contracts in Europe become free agents. The players will become free agents once their current contracts expire on June 30—the official conclusion of the 2022–23 football season.
This can happen if a football player negotiates an early termination or If both sides decide not to renew the contract. Players look for free agency for a variety of reasons. To demonstrate their abilities and advance their objectives, some people opt for fresh challenges and a change of scenery.
Financial factors like better contracts or higher pay can also come into play. Players may look into free agency for greater career chances as a result of disagreements with club management, a lack of playing time, or lacklustre advancement.
Let’s look at the top 9 free agents in football who are available for grabs this summer.
Eden Hazard | FW | Real Madrid
Eden Hazard agreed to have his contract terminated a year early, and Real Madrid made the announcement that he will depart the team at the end of the current campaign. When the former Chelsea player joined Real Madrid in 2019, he cost close to €140 million (£123.3m/$149.4m), making him the most expensive acquisition in the club’s history. After a dismal performance with Belgium at the 2022 World Cup, when they were eliminated in the group stage, Hazard recently announced his retirement from international football. Since that time, he has battled with his form and health.
“Real Madrid Football Club and Eden Hazard have reached an agreement whereby the player will leave the club as of 30 June 2023. Eden Hazard has been part of our club for four seasons, during which time he has won 8 titles: 1 European Cup, 1 Club World Cup, 1 European Super Cup, 2 La Liga titles, 1 Copa del Rey and 2 Spanish Super Cups. Real Madrid would like to express our affection to Eden Hazard and we wish him and his family the best of luck for the next stage of his career,” read a statement from the club.
The Belgian International will now need to find a new challenge after having a dreadful experience at the Santiago Bernabeu after joining there from Chelsea in 2019.
The Belgian was mulling retiring after finishing up his contract with Real Madrid next summer, but his exact future move is yet unknown.
N’Golo Kante | MF | Chelsea
In the summer of 2023, N’Golo Kante’s current agreement with Chelsea will come to an end and is a free agent in football who is available for grabs. The French international midfielder first joined Chelsea from Leicester City in 2016, and in 2018, he signed a new five-year deal that will expire at the end of the current campaign.
According to recent reports, the midfielder may be poised to do a U-turn and quit Stamford Bridge, contrary to previous reports that he will sign a new deal to prolong his time there.
Ilkay Gundogan | MF | Manchester City
Ilkay Gundogan, who transferred from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City in 2016, has had a standout Premier League career thus far. Although his current contract is scheduled to expire in the summer, City is eager to keep him at the Etihad Stadium and has extended an offer to him.
Should the German international leave City in the upcoming weeks, teams like Barcelona and Arsenal are interested in grabbing him.
Karim Benzema | FW | Real Madrid
Karim Benzema was prepared to extend his Real Madrid contract by one year, but current rumours in Spain suggest that he may go for Saudi Arabia when it expires in the summer.
A Saudi Pro League team, most likely Al-Ittihad, is said to have offered the striker up to €100 million a season, plus incentives, and the Frenchman may go to Asia as a result.
Sergio Busquets | MF | Barcelona
After 15 years at Barcelona, Sergio Busquets’ contract is set to expire at the conclusion of the 2022–23 season.
Busquets is also a target for Saudi Arabian teams, and MLS may now show interest in him this summer.
Luka Modric | MF | Real Madrid
Luka Modric’s Real Madrid contract was set to expire in 2022 but the Croatian midfielder signed a one-year contract extension in June. Reports suggest he is set to do the same thing again this summer, keeping him in the Spanish capital until 2024.
Naby Keita | MF | Liverpool
Naby Keita will leave Anfield this summer and has been connected to a free-agency transfer to Crystal Palace. Galatasaray and Inter Milan are both keeping an eye on the midfielder.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic | FW | AC Milan
There were suggestions that Zlatan Ibrahimovic might leave Milan before the start of the 2022–23 season, but those reports were dispelled when the Swedish forward agreed to a new contract that would keep him at Milan until the present season. Zlatan didn’t play as per the massive expectations from him. He was injured for most of the season.
The veteran player has announced his retirement from football.
Marcus Thuram | FW | Borussia Monchengladbach
Marcus Thuram, a standout for Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga, will not extend his contract when it expires in the summer. Along with Serie A powerhouses Juventus and Inter, he is being watched by a number of major teams, including Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea.
Which players from this lot should your favourite football club buy? Let us know in the comments section.