THE winter transfer window is now closed – but managers are already moving quickly to secure some new names this summer.
A host of elite stars are currently just months away from walking away from their current clubs, with their contracts expiring.
The best XI of players available on free transfers this summer includes Messi
Those players are now able to sign pre-contract terms ahead of a free move on July 1.
But there are many more superstar players available for absolutely nothing.
Here’s SunSport’s best XI of summer freebies…
GK – Gianluigi Donnarumma
Donnarumma could quit AC Milan this summer on a freeCredit: Reuters
STILL aged just 22, the Italian stopper has been a key figure at AC Milan for five years already.
But with his contract expiring, his time at the San Siro looks set to be up with Manchester United linked.
And with ten or even 20 years ahead of him, Donnarumma could be the signing of the century for one lucky club.
RB – Elseid Hysaj
Once in-demand Hysaj is another player up for grabs for nothingCredit: AP:Associated Press
THE Napoli man, 27, has long been on the radar of Premier League clubs, with Chelsea and Manchester United both keen in 2018.
However, after being priced-out of a move, the clubs looked elsewhere and Hysaj’s stock has cooled somewhat.
But the 55-cap Albania international would still be a superb signing on a free, even if only as back-up.
CB – Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos could finally leave Real Madrid after a glittering stint at the BernabeuCredit: EPA
ONE of two superstar centre-backs in this XI, the Spain legend, 34, is locked in contract talks with Real Madrid.
Ramos wants at least a two-year extension – with Los Blancos never offering players over the age of 30 more than one-year deals.
Madrid want Ramos to stay at the Bernabeu forever and could break their own policy – but a host of clubs including United and PSG are on red-alert in case talks crumble.
CB – David Alaba
Alaba will leave the Allianz Arena this summer with a host of clubs desperate to land himCredit: Getty Images – Getty
THE Bayern Munich superstar, 28, WILL leave the Bundesliga giants this summer after the club gave up on trying to convince him to stay.
Alaba has been hotly linked with a move to Real Madrid, while Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool are among the other elite European sides chasing him.
Still with years left in the tank and able to play at centre-back, left-back, defensive midfield and central midfield, bringing in Alaba on a free would be sensational business for any team.
LB – Juan Bernat
Juan Bernat is set to be released this summer after missing this season through injuryCredit: EPA
THE France left-back, 27, is soon out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain and looks unlikely to pen an extension.
Bernat played just three times in Ligue 1 this season before suffering a nasty ACL injury.
The defender is likely to miss the rest of the season – but clubs would be getting a gem of a player in his prime years if he can prove he hasn’t lost a step following the tough injury.
CM – Georginio Wijnaldum
Wijnaldum is keen to move to Barcelona and could quit Liverpool on a freeCredit: AP:Associated Press
THE Liverpool star, 30, has his heart set on a move to Barcelona this summer.
Anfield bosses are set to attempt to keep the Dutch midfielder at the club with a new contract offer.
But whether Wijnaldum decides to quit the reigning Premier League champions seems to depend on what happens at the Nou Camp.
RW – Florian Thauvin
Thauvin is on the brink of leaving Marseille after five impressive yearsCredit: AP:Associated Press
THE ex-Newcastle winger, 28, returned to Marseille – initially on loan – in 2016 and has been in sublime form.
Thauvin, a ten-cap France international, has scored 61 times in just 140 Ligue 1 games, including six strikes in 18 games this term.
Despite his hot form, 2018 World Cup winner Thauvin is set to quit Marseille this summer with Leicester among the reported interested parties.
CAM – Angel Di Maria
Angel Di Maria could finally quit PSG after nearly six years at the clubCredit: Reuters
SUPERSTAR attacking midfielder Di Maria, 33, has been sensational since quitting Manchester United to join PSG in 2015.
The Ligue 1 giants are set to offer him an extension, with Di Maria’s wife even joking he should offer to stay on as cook if Messi moves to Paris.
But after 86 goals in 246 games for PSG and 12 trophies, it could be time for the Argentine to have a swan song elsewhere.
LW – Memphis Depay
Memphis Depay is set to leave Lyon this summer having nearly joined Barcelona last yearCredit: AP:Associated Press
THE Dutch star – and another to flop at Old Trafford – was seemingly set to join Barcelona last summer only for the deal to collapse.
Depay, 27, is out of contract at Lyon in the summer and is expected to move, possibly even to the Nou Camp.
But after a superb three-and-a-half years in France, stock in Depay is high and a number of clubs, including Juventus, are set to chase his signature.
ST – Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is finally set to end his love affair with BarcelonaCredit: AFP or licensors
YOU’D have to have been living under a rock to not know Messi is out of contract this summer.
The Argentine legend, 33, came desperately close to quitting last summer, but for a late U-turn.
Messi – whose outrageous contract details were recently leaked – is on the radar of Europe’s elite.
But PSG and Man City are comfortably leading the race for the lifelong Barca forward.
ST – Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero could leave Man City this summer with compatriot Messi a potential replacementCredit: Reuters
AFTER a phenomenal decade at the Etihad, Aguero could finally leave this summer.
The Argentine, 32, has been plagued by injuries and illness this season.
After 256 goals in 380 games, the four-time Premier League champion could be on his way with his contract expiring.
City still lack a lethal back-up forward, despite Gabriel Jesus’ recent uptick in form, so could offer him at least another year.
Messi could be that man, but for now, Aguero may be forced to look elsewhere if he’s to win that elusive Champions League crown.
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