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Out of contract in 2020: Football's best free agents at the end of the season

11:00 BST 08/09/2020
Edinson Cavani Mario Gotze
Some of Europe's greats could still join a club for free this summer, from Edinson Cavani to Mario Mandzukic

Signing a player on a free transfer is a cost-effective way of recruitment and there will be plenty of bargain players available for no fee in the summer of 2020.

As fans of the popular Football Manager game will know, assessing the players whose contracts are nearly expired is an essential practice ahead of the transfer window opening.

And those whose deals are running down come in all shapes and sizes - from wizened veterans to disgruntled stars entering their prime.

This year, things have been complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, with FIFA exploring ways to navigate a potential legal, moral and financial quagmire  of contract expiry dates.

Either way, Goal takes a look at the players who will be available to sign for free once their contracts expire.

  • Edinson Cavani PSG 2019-20

    Edinson Cavani | FW | PSG

    Flanked by Kylian Mbappe and Neymar on either side of him at Paris Saint-Germain, Edinson Cavani was one of the more under-rated forwards in Europe. He bagged 23 goals for the French giants in 2018-19, and was the subject of a bid from Atletico Madrid in January which was rejected by PSG.

    "We hoped that he would stay at the club. Today, he asked to leave. We are studying the situation," said PSG sporting director Leonardo. "We had a proposal from Atletico Madrid. We did not have a proposal worthy of the player's worth."

  • Mario Gotze Dortmund

    Mario Gotze | MF | Borussia Dortmund

    Mario Gotze's role at Borussia Dortmund diminished for a couple of years now and, with his contract having expired, he will be seeking a move elsewhere for a fresh challenge in order to reignite his career.

    At just 28, the midfielder still has great potential to excel elsewhere (he did score the winning goal in a World Cup final for Germany just six years ago) as he approaches his prime.

  • Nathaniel Clyne Liverpool 2018-19

    Nathaniel Clyne | RB | Liverpool

    The defender had a very low-key exit from Liverpool the summer of 2020 following a three-year stint at the club, not present for any of the Premier League trophy celebrations.

    Nathaniel Clyne picked up an ACL injury in a 2019 pre-season friendly against Borussia Dortmund and subsequently made no appearances during the 2019–20 campaign due to further fitness problems.

  • daniel sturridge 08122019

    Daniel Sturridge | FW | Trabzonspor

    The former Liverpool man was released from Trabzonspor in March after having his contract mutually terminated, the same day that he received a £75,000 for breaching FA betting rules.

    He was also banned from playing football starting July 17, with four weeks of the ban suspended until the end of August 2020.

  • Jose Callejon Napoli 2018-19

    Jose Callejon | FW | Napoli

    After rising through the youth ranks at Real Madrid, Jose Callejon spent two years at the Bernabeu before moving to Napoli in 2013, where he spent seven seasons.

    He netted 82 goals in 349 appearances for the Serie A club and was released in the summer of 2020.

  • Alexandre Pato

    Alexandre Pato | FW | Sao Paulo

    After emerging as a star during his time at AC Milan from 2007-2013, Alexandre Pato had a mixed bag of success at a handful of other clubs, with a stint at Corinthians, a loan spell at Chelsea and a season-long campaign at Villareal.

    He returned to his native Brazil in 2019 to spend one season at Sao Paulo and is now a free agent.

  • Hatem Ben Arfa Rennes 09032019

    Hatem Ben Arfa | FW | Valladolid

    Hatem Ben Arfa most recently signed with Valladolid on a six-month contract in January 2020, following successful spells with Nice, Paris Saint-Germain and Rennes.

    Ben Arfa lifted the Coupe de France with Rennes, defeating his former club PSG in the final on penalties, scoring 72 goals in 393 total career appearances.

  • Mario Mandzukic Al Duhail

    Mario Mandzukic | FW | Al-Duhail

    The Croatia international has seemingly located the fountain of youth, still well into his playing career at 34 years of age.

    Most recently, Mario Mandzukic played for Qatari side Al-Duhail after he was found to be surplus to the plans of former Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri. Mandzukic scored two goals in 10 appearances for Al-Duhali, and his contract was terminated by mutual consent in July 2020. The likes of Fenerbahce, Besiktas, Lokomotiv Moscow and Inter Milan have all been linked to the forward.

  • Fabio Borini - Verona 2020

    Fabio Borini | FW | Verona

    After two seasons with AC Milan, Fabio Borini signed with Verona in January 2020 for a deal that concluded at the end of the season. The former Liverpool and Sunderland striker scored his first goal for the side five days after signing against Bologna, netting the equaliser.

  • Worst Premier League Team of the Season so far | Jordon Ibe

    Jordon Ibe | FW | Bournemouth

    After an initially promising start to his time at Bournemouth following his departure from Liverpool, Jordon Ibe was dropped to the bench by manager Eddie Howe after failing to continue a level of consistency on the pitch.

    Following Bournemouth's demotion to the Championship, Ibe - who scored three goals during his stint on the south coast - was released by the club.