Exploring Possible Destinations For This Summer's Biggest EPL Free Agents
Manchester City announced on Monday that iconic striker Sergio Agüero would be leaving the club at the end of the season. The Argentine joined Man City from Atlético Madrid in 2011 on a $44 million transfer, winning four (and possibly one more this year) Premier League titles in the process.
He is the highest-scoring non-Englishman in Premier League history and will be a highly sought-after transfer target come the summer when his contract expires.
But Agüero is not the only Premier League star with an expiring contract. Many big-name players will become free agents this summer, and with the financial restraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, clubs will likely favor free transfers.
Here are some of the best Premier League free agents that clubs will be looking to sign this summer:
Leading Premier League Free Agents Summer 2021
Sergio Agüero (ST), Manchester City
Age: 32 (33 in June)
Possible Destinations: PSG, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Atlético Madrid
Agüero ranks fourth in Premier League history with 187 goals scored, making the Argentine this summer's most coveted Premier League free agent. Many of Europe's top clubs have put Agüero at the top of their shortlist, with PSG and Barcelona being the strongest contenders. An Agüero-Messi partnership has been proposed in Paris, while the duo could end up replacing each other at their respective clubs should Messi choose Manchester City.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 29, 2021
Georginio Wijnaldum (CM), Liverpool
Possible Destinations: Barcelona
The Wijnaldum to Barcelona links have persisted for so long that it's surprising an official signing hasn't been made. The Dutchman has made the most starts of any Liverpool midfielder this season, but Liverpool has strong midfield depth and contract talks between the two sides have gone nowhere. The biggest obstacle might end up being Barcelona's financial situation, as Barca likely has to sell Miralem Pjanić before bringing in a new midfielder.
Fernandinho (CDM/CB), Manchester City
Age: 35 (36 in May)
Possible Destinations: Athletico Paranaense (Brazil), Various European Clubs
Fernandinho has been a key player for Man City during Pep Guardiola's tenure, featuring both as a center midfielder and a deputy center back. But the Brazilian turns 36 in May, and it has already been indicated that his expiring contract is unlikely to be renewed at the end of the season. There are no shortage of suitors, as his former club Athletico Paranaense are the frontrunners, but numerous unnamed Brazilian and European clubs are also in the mix
John Lundstram (CM), Sheffield United
Possible Destinations: Crystal Palace, Burnley, Rangers
Contract talks between Lundstram and Sheffield United have broken down, and it is unlikely that the English midfielder will stay at the club if it is relegated. Lundstram has proven himself to be Premier League quality, and there will be numerous clubs pressing for his signature as the season progresses. As a box-to-box midfielder, Sean Dyche's Burnley is a natural fit for Lundstram, but the lure of European football could also draw him to play for Rangers in Scotland.
Olivier Giroud (ST), Chelsea
Possible Destinations: Juventus, Inter Milan, Inter Miami
Despite being 34-years-old, Giroud is still a competent goal-scorer that has reached double-digit goals (across all competitions) every season since 2007-08. This year, he is averaging a goal every 38 minutes in the Champions League, but the Frenchman has seen less action under new manager Thomas Tuchel.
Juan Mata (CAM), Manchester United
Age: 32 (33 in April)
Possible Destinations: Valencia, Real Socieded, Real Betis, Fenerbahçe, Serie A
The Spaniard has only made seven appearances for the Red Devils this season, including just two minutes played in the last 17 league matches. With a core of young attacking talent, Mata — on an expiring contract — is the odd man out. Former club Valencia has already approached the Spaniard, while Turkish side Fenerbahçe displayed interest in Mata over the summer. Multiple clubs in Spain and Italy are also said to be in the mix.
Andros Townsend (RW), Crystal Palace
Age: 29 (30 in July)
Possible Destinations: Mid-table Premier League side
One of Crystal Palace's biggest goals this summer is to reduce its wage bill, and with 11 players on expiring contracts — including many veterans with high salaries — it appears that at least a few of them won't be resigned.
"There will be some among that 11 that don't necessarily get a new contract," manager Roy Hodgson said. "It's not unfair of us to ask them to keep giving their best, to keep playing to the top level of their ability to earn the money we're paying them."
The likes of Christian Benteke and Mamadou Sakho are both a bit washed up, but winger Andros Townsend has been a consistent performer opposite Wilfried Zaha. He would be the perfect addition for a mid-table Premier League side looking for an attacking boost, like West Ham or Southampton.
David Luiz (CB), Arsenal
Age: 33 (34 in April)
Possible Destinations: Just About Anywhere
A recent run of good form has helped Luiz correct an awful start to the season (at the beginning of February, Luiz was ranked 268th out of 291 eligible EPL players in WhoScored's rating system), but the Brazilian has simply not done enough to warrant a contract extension at Arsenal. His name and reputation alone are likely enough to secure a move to a decent club though — despite the fact that no offers have been forthcoming as of yet.
Danny Rose (LB), Tottenham
Age: 30 (31 in July)
Possible Destinations: Genoa, Middlesbrough, Trabzonspor, West Brom
The pacey fullback has been frozen out of the squad under Jose Mourinho, and with his contract expiring this summer, Rose is all but gone. Countless clubs from across Europe have come close to signing Rose this season but no official deal has materialized. A move to Turkey fell apart at the last minute, while the Spurs man is said to have rejected a move to West Brom because he would prefer to play abroad, but England's exit from the EU makes such transfers difficult.