The 20 best footballers out of contract in July 2023 and available as free transfers

Roberto Firmino celebrates winning the Champions League with Liverpool in 2019. Credit: Alamy
Roberto Firmino celebrates winning the Champions League with Liverpool in 2019. Credit: Alamy

There are some brilliant footballers available on free transfers who are out of contract in the summer of 2023, though clubs have options on some of these players.

We have ranked by ‘value’ according to Transfermarkt but that’s just a guide.


1) Milan Skriniar (Inter Milan)
The Slovakian almost left for PSG on deadline day after Inter Milan reportedly accepted their offer but in the end, Skriniar will have to make do with joining in the summer on a free transfer.


2) Lionel Messi (PSG)
‘The first face-to-face negotiations for Lionel Messi’s contract extension with PSG ended in failure’, apparently. He might choose the MLS in the summer. Winning the Ballon d’Or while playing in the US would be odd.


3) Youri Tielemans (Leicester City)
We are still confused that nobody signed him for relative pennies in the summer of 2022 and yet he remains at Leicester playing second fiddle to The James Maddison Show. Manchester United and Arsenal reportedly enquired in the final days of the window but the Foxes’ price was too high. Both still want him along with Liverpool.


4) Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
He is expected to stay for at least another season as Real Madrid’s spearhead. He is still scoring more goals than anybody else even at 35.


5) Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
“Wilfried knows what the club thinks about him and we know what he thinks about the club,” says Patrick Vieira. But all the signs are that Zaha wants a crack at the Champions League whether that’s in England or abroad.


6) Marcus Thuram (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
There is talk of Barcelona for the Frenchman, who would quite like to follow in his father’s footsteps rather than join Chelsea or Manchester United.


7) Evan Ndicka (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Liverpool are the latest club to be strongly linked with the 23-year-old Frenchman, though they will face some serious competition.


8) N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
Injury problems have dogged him over the last three seasons and then kept him out of the World Cup. He is still best in the business when fit, but is he fit often enough to merit a new deal at Chelsea or elsewhere (Liverpool?).


9) Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt)
A starter for Japan at the World Cup, Kamada had already come to prominence with Champions League goals against Spurs, Marseille and Sporting Lisbon. Liverpool are one of the reported suitors, with Kamada desperate to come to England.


10) Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
After eight years at Anfield, Firmino will ‘leave’ the club when his contract is up this summer. Barcelona and Inter Milan are among the clubs reportedly interested.


11) Konrad Laimer (RB Leipzig)
Chelsea, Liverpool and Bayern Munich have all been linked with the Austrian central midfielder who is considered something of a pressing machine. Of course he will join Bayern.


12) Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)
Manchester City have opened talks about a new contract, presumably having realised that Kalvin Phillips is in no fit state to replace him.


13) Adrien Rabiot (Juventus)
Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool have all been strongly linked with the Frenchman having something of a resurgence this season.


14) Alex Grimaldo (Benfica)
Real Madrid are said to be interested in the Spaniard who came through the Barcelona system but Newcastle are of course sniffing around for an upgrade on Dan Burn.


15) Marco Asensio (Real Madrid)
On Barcelona’s radar apparently, which might well force Real Madrid to hand him a new contract. Arsenal and AC Milan are also both interested in the Spaniard. Liverpool are the latest club linked.


16) Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester City)
Remember when he was the reason that Leicester City could rest easy about selling Harry Maguire? He is now so far down the Foxes’ pecking order that he has made only one Premier League start this season.


17) Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
It’s not a case of whether Real Madrid want Kroos but for how much longer Kroos wants to play football. “As a fan, it’s impossible to think he’s going to retire,” Carlo Ancelotti said in a press conference.


18) Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)
The Portuguese international is Dortmund’s starting left-back but they have decided not to renew. There have been links to both Newcastle and Tottenham.


19) Ramy Bensebaini (Borussia Monchengladbach)
Another full-back but this one is probably bound for Borussia Dortmund in the summer.


20) Jonathan Bamba (Lille)
Five years after joining on a free transfer, the winger could be on the move again.

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