Out-of-contract XI: Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos & Gianluigi Donnarumma among stars | Football News

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Premier League clubs can snap up some of Europe’s biggest stars and brightest prospects for free when their contracts expire on Thursday.

With the help of Transfermarkt, we scoured the world for free agents and whittled that list down into a starting XI.



Donnarumma - AP
Gianluigi Donnarumma looks set to join PSG

Gianluigi Donnarumma has been plying his trade as the No 1 stopper at AC Milan for five seasons, but is still only 22 years old and will be available for free on Thursday – with Paris Saint-Germain set to swoop for his signature.

If he has the longevity of compatriot Gianluigi Buffon – who returned to Parma at the age of 43 after his deal at Juventus expiredthe Italy international could have another 20 years or more in top-flight football, which bodes well in market value for potential suitors.

Other options: Wayne Hennessey and Willy Caballero


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Sergio Ramos breaks down in tears during an emotional farewell, following the confirmation he will leave Real Madrid after 16 years at the Spanish giants.

Sergio Ramos bade an emotional farewell a fortnight ago and will leave Real Madrid in July after 16 years at the club. At 35, the former Spain skipper should have a season or more of top-flight football left in his locker.

Bayern Munich released another centre-back superstar in Jerome Boateng, who missed out on the Germany squad for Euro 2020. The 32-year-old has been linked with Monaco, Roma and Tottenham.

Other options: Nikola Maksimovic, David Luiz, Mamadou Sakho, Gary Cahill and Scott Dann


Ezgjan Alioski denied he had made any form of discriminatory gesture during Leeds' game against Burnley
Ezgjan Alioski starred for North Macedonia at Euro 2020

In terms of longevity, there is some serious value available in the full-back positions, with Napoli right-back Elseid Hysaj and Ezgjan Alioski among a host of options up for grabs this summer.

Hysaj turned 27 earlier this year and has racked up 179 appearances for Napoli in Serie A since 2015, along with 59 international caps for Albania over the past eight years.

Meanwhile, Alioski was North Macedonia’s headline act at Euro 2020 and produced typical displays of tireless energy and forward endeavour, which were hallmarks of the 29-year-old’s game under Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds.

Other options: Ryan Bertrand, Patrick van Aanholt, Nathaniel Clyne, Branislav Ivanovic, Adam Smith, Ahmed Elmohamady, Martin Kelly and Joel Ward


PA - Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata warms up
Juan Mata’s contract expires at Manchester United on Thursday

Juan Mata (33) is officially out of contract at midnight on Wednesday but has reportedly expressed the desire to stay at Manchester United for another season.

Meanwhile, John Lundstram (27) shone for Sheffield United during their stellar top-flight campaign in 2019/20 but clocked fewer minutes during the Blades’ tumultuous campaign last term, which saw them return to the Championship.

Jeffrey Schlupp is among a raft of Crystal Palace players with contracts set to expire, but the former Leicester man is the only one to make our XI – based on his frequent explosive performances and still being only 28 years old.

Other options: ​Jack Wilshere, Robbie Brady, Adam Reach and James McCarthy


Argentina 4-1 Bolivia
Lionel Messi has been firing for Argentina at the Copa America

Arguably the greatest player on the planet could be snapped up for free this week: Lionel Messi. The 34-year-old’s transfer request was rejected by Barcelona last summer but his contract situation is never far from the headlines.

There is a wealth of free talent available, but we’ve taken a punt with former Manchester City striker Stevan Jovetic (31) – despite recent injury concerns – and Josh King (29), who largely watched from the sidelines during a spell at Everton last season following several successful campaigns with Bournemouth.

Other options: Santos Borre, Dwight Gayle, Troy Deeney, Kevin Gameiro, Andy Carroll, Connor Wickham, Hal Robson-Kanu, Andros Townsend, Robin Quaison, Marcos Paulo, Jacob Murphy, Andre Ayew, Jose Izquierdo, Christian Atsu and Junior Stanislas

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

You can follow all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms, as well as keeping track of all the developments on Sky Sports News.

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