English football has some notable names out of contract in 2022 and each will be able to negotiate pre-contract agreements with foreign sides when the winter window opens next month.
From first-team stars to out-of-favour talents, we’ve decided to look at some of the most prominent players who could be on the move, either in cut-price January deals or as free agents next summer.
The most high-profile free agent nearing the end of his deal, could we be approaching the end of Paul Pogba’s storied spell at Manchester United?
Pogba has failed to agree on terms on a new deal with the Red Devils and looks increasingly likely to leave the club, with some of Europe’s elite clubs monitoring the situation of the France international at Old Trafford.
The 28-year-old has rarely been far from the headlines during his five-and-a-half years at Old Trafford, with the player’s agent, Mino Raiola, having often courted controversy with ill-advised comments on his client’s future.
Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus have all been linked with a move for Pogba, who is sure to appeal on a free transfer in the current financial climate.
Pogba’s time with the Red Devils has been underwhelming and a move elsewhere could be beneficial for all parties as United prepare to embark on a new era next season. Having signed the midfielder in a world-record £89m deal, however, his exit on a free transfer will sting the club’s cash counters.
Chelsea have also seen contract talks with Andreas Christensen stall, with no news on an extension for the centre-back despite Thomas Tuchel’s previous claims that an agreement was near.
Tuchel has spoken publicly on Christensen’s situation after omitting the Denmark international from the side, urging the defender to ‘walk the talk’ and commit his future to the club.
“We have the hope that it (Christensen’s lack of action) influences the contract situation a little bit,” said Tuchel earlier this month.
“My understanding weeks ago was that Andreas wants the same as me and the club. But we have been waiting a long time for confirmation.
“How he acts on the pitch, he needs to act now off the pitch and walk the talk. He tells us he loves Chelsea and he wants to stay. He is a big part of a big club. We want the commitment.”
Chelsea also have veteran duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva out of contract next summer, though a deal for the latter is understood to be close.
Arsenal face a decision on the future of Alexandre Lacazette, with the Frenchman nearing the end of his deal at the Emirates.
Lacazette has started just seven league fixtures so far this season but has returned to the side in recent weeks as doubts persist over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, following his removal as club captain after a disciplinary breach.
With Aubameyang linked with an exit and both Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah out of contract in 2022, the Gunners’ options are stretched with Mikel Arteta expected to target the signing of a new centre-forward in the coming months.
Arsenal are understood to be unwilling to offer Lacazette – who remains a valued member of the dressing room – a new deal on his current terms, but a compromise could still be found if both parties are intent on extending his time at the Emirates.
Jesse Lingard looks set to leave Manchester United, having seen his career stall once again after returning to the Red Devils last summer.
Lingard earned a recall to the England squad after an impressive loan spell at West Ham last term, before returning to United and receiving assurances over his playing time at Old Trafford.
However, the 29-year-old has failed to start a single Premier League fixture and has totalled just 88 minutes of league action across eight substitute appearances, with a winter window move likely for a player who has fallen out of favour.
West Ham are believed to be interested in bringing the midfielder back to the London Stadium, whilst Newcastle have also been linked as the Magpies’ billionaire owners look to invest into a struggling squad this winter.
Having seen a £30m price-tag dissuade clubs during the summer, Lingard could find himself available for less than half of that figure as the Red Devils look to recoup a fee for the impending free agent.
West Ham and Newcastle have also been strongly linked with James Tarkowski, the Burnley centre-back keen on a new challenge after refusing a new deal at Turf Moor.
The 29-year-old – who was twice capped by England in 2018 – has been a fine servant for Burnley in recent seasons, but will move on with Premier League rivals keen on the dominant central defender.
West Ham are in need of centre-back reinforcements with both Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna facing spells on the sidelines, whilst Newcastle have the division’s joint-worst defence and need new signings in their battle to beat the drop.
Whether Burnley would be willing to strengthen a direct relegation rival remains to be seen, whilst Sean Dyche may take the approach that Tarkowski is more valuable to his side’s survival fight than the fee the club could recoup with a winter sale.
Chelsea have failed to agree new terms with Antonio Rudiger in recent months, with the defender attracting significant interest as the end of his contract approaches.
Rudiger has been an integral figure under Thomas Tuchel to enjoy the best period of his career with the west Londoners, but the European champions have so far failed to match his demands as the centre-back seeks potentially the last lucrative contract of his career.
Real Madrid are understood to be leading the chase for the 28-year-old, whilst both PSG and Bayern Munich have been credited as admirers of the Germany international.
Rudiger has thrived in Chelsea’s back three system under Tuchel and his departure in his prime years would represent a significant blow to a side on an upward trajectory at present.
Todd Cantwell has failed to build on a promising first Premier League season in 2019/20, with the midfielder having found himself in and out of the Norwich side in recent months.
The 23-year-old has failed to provide a goal or assists in eight league appearances this term, but there may be sides willing to gamble on the former England u21 international on a free transfer.
Cantwell was previously linked with big-money moves to Aston Villa and Leeds and his past performances earned attention from sides further up the Premier League.
Home-grown, talented, and potentially available for nothing at the end of the current campaign, he will appeal to top-flight managers in search of energy and creativity.
Tottenham and Hugo Lloris have so far failed to agree terms on a new deal, with the north Londoners securing the signing of Pierluigi Gollini from Atalanta last season on a loan deal with an option to buy.
Lloris has retained his first-choice status at Spurs, but will turn 36 this month and it remains to be seen how long he remains at the highest level.
The Athletic have reported this week that the two parties have opened talks over an extension, with David Ornstein revealing there is ‘a desire on both sides for an extension, but nothing has been agreed’.
Lloris will be free to negotiate with foreign sides from next month, however, and has been linked with a return to France in recent months.