Fans often forget that football is no longer just a sport and has become a business for both clubs and players. We see players who have played one side their entire lives, pack their bags and go for a better deal. The same goes for clubs, as they would gladly let a star player go if it meant a good deal for them.
Players who do not have a secured contract often seem to have a drop in their form, so both parties feel the need to decide their future as soon as possible. As time runs out, the pressure on players increases and they tend to make decisions they would live to regret. Clubs must be quick with their decisions as well, as once there are 6 months left for a player’s contract, they are free to discuss the terms directly with the other teams.
FootTheBall brings you 10 major players who will run out of contracts by 2022 and need to decide where they see themselves next season.
The enigma of Mbappé’s contract has been worrying PSG for quite some time. The French giants were hoping the superstar would sign a contract extension by now, but Mbappé has plans of his own. He has denied talks about signing a new contract and is likely to leave the club at the end of this season.
Real Madrid have been chasing the French prodigy for a couple of seasons and have made numerous attempts to capture his signature. Unfortunately for them, PSG has rejected all the offers they have made. It seems that PSG would rather let Mbappé go free than sell him to Real Madrid. With Lionel Messi staying in Barcelona rather than choosing to join Mbappé at PSG, the chances of Mbappé staying have become really slim.
On the other hand, PSG has made big moves in the transfer market so far this season. If, under the leadership of Mauricio Pochettino, they finally make their way into the UCL, Mbappé’s decision might not be as clear-cut as it seems right now. This could go on for a while.
After leading a strong team from Portugal to Euro 2020, Cristiano Ronaldo has shown the world that he has much more fight left. Ronaldo scored 29 goals last season, making him the top scorer in Serie A. He was the best player for the Italian giants and yet, it seems Juventus is not interested in securing his signature at the moment.
Ronaldo, being one of the best in the world, has many options at hand with PSG, Manchester United and Real Madrid interested in putting him on his side. Although the club is not thinking about the contract situation at the moment, they feel that there is a lot of time on their hands until next season. Ronaldo, on the other hand, might feel unwanted by the Juventus hierarchy and would like to play his football elsewhere.
3) PAUL POGBA (MANCHESTER UNITED)
Manchester United activated a 1-year contract extension last year to take advantage of its excellent quality until 2022. Pogba has been in the midst of transfer rumors to Juventus and Real Madrid for the past few seasons. He felt uneasy at United due to the treatment Mourinho gave him, but it seems that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the Frenchman are getting along quite well.
Pogba clearly remains a world-class player and he proved it when he ran the show for France at the Euro. However, his demonstrations for his club team have always polarized opinions. Mino Raiola, Pogba’s agent, also doesn’t get along with the Manchester United crowd and could therefore convince Pogba to play elsewhere.
Dybala has been playing for Juventus since 2015 and reports emerge every year that he is restless. He missed large parts of last season due to injury problems, but Juventus still want him to continue playing for them. Juventus have stated that Dybala’s contractual situation is a priority for them as PSG is waiting for the right opportunity to take him away.
Massimilano Allegri, the new Juventus coach has given Dybala a lot of importance in his plans for the 2021/22 season, so we feel that Juventus will not let the Argentine go. Dybala is also keen to continue playing for La Vieja after a disappointing last season.
5) JESSE LINGARD (MANCHESTER UNITED)
After struggling to find a few minutes on the field, Lingard was loaned to West Ham on a short-term loan earlier this year. He has scored 9 goals for the Hammers in 16 appearances, 1 more than he has scored for Manchester United since the 2018/19 season.
Lingard has always been a good player, but a losing streak cost him his place in the first team and since then he has been nothing more than a warmer bench for them. But it seems that Ole Gunnar Skolsjaer wants to reward Lingard for his incredible loan with a new contract until 2024. Lingard has been sought after by many of the best clubs in Europe and therefore the decision is in the hands of the player himself. We believe that if Lingard has had many opportunities on the field, he will surely extend his stay with the Red Devils.
6) LORENZO INSIGNE (NAPOLI)
Insigne has been playing for Napoli’s senior team for over a decade and has delivered on what was expected of him throughout. It’s a bit shocking that Insigne only has one year left on his contract and that Napoli have yet to start negotiating with the player. Insigne himself has stated that he wants to renew his contract before the 2021/22 season.
Clubs like Barcelona, Spurs and Liverpool have been closely following the status of Insigne’s contract and will likely make an offer in the next 2 transfer windows. Napoli had a disappointing season under Insigne’s leadership last season, so they speculate about his future with the club. Although, Insigne’s performance at Euro 2020 could help them change their minds.
7) JAMES RODRIGUEZ (EVERTON)
After being forced to sit on the Real Madrid bench in the 2019/20 season, James Rodríguez seized the opportunity to play Ancelotti again with open arms when he joined Everton last year. Ancelotti was the one who signed the Colombian for Real Madrid back in 2014 and that is why both are on good terms.
James Rodrigues began his time at Goodison Park in spectacular fashion, but over time his form began to fade. James remains a player who has a lot to offer the club, but with Ancelotti leaving, Everton are considering taking advantage of the attacking midfielder.
8) LEON GORETZKA (BAYERN MUNICH)
Leon Goretzka has become one of the best midfielders in the world under the influence of Hansi Flick. The German joined Bayern in 2018 for a 4-year contract that will end next summer. Goretzka and the club were in early talks in negotiations earlier this year, but the player’s unfortunate injury in May forced him to focus on his recovery and, in turn, things got delayed for everyone.
Bayern Munich have announced that Goretzka will receive kit number 8 following the departure of club legend Javi Martínez. This clearly shows that Goretzka is part of Bayern Munich’s long-term plans and the player appears to be having a good time with the German Giants.
9) PATRICK BAMFORD (LEEDS UNITED)
Leeds United returned to the Premier League in style and managed to finish in the top 10. With 17 goals to his name, Bamford was the Premier League’s fourth top scorer and one of the main reasons Leeds was not fighting in the relegation zone last year. Bamford also scored 16 EFL Championship goals, ensuring his team achieved promotion after 16 long years.
Bamford is one of the most exciting young talents in England and therefore many clubs in Europe are watching him closely. Bamford might want to move to one of the best clubs in the world, but reports suggest they have already verbally agreed to an extension until 2023. But it won’t mean anything until it’s officially announced, so Bamford could say goodbye to Leeds after serving them for 4 glorious years.
10) ANDRES ONANA (AJAX)
Ajax have done their best to keep Onana playing in Amsterdam, although it seems that Onana has decided to leave for a change in her career. He has had many suitors seeking his signature in the past, but whether Onana is still wanted by any club, is the question at hand.
Onana was convicted of doping in February this year and faces a 9-month suspension from playing professional soccer. This could have ruined his entire career, as his arrival could damage the image of any club. Arsenal seemed like Onana’s possible fate, but at this point it seems highly unlikely. We don’t even know if we’ll ever see the same Onana again, as a 9-month hiatus can even have a massive impact on his overall game. If no club is ready to sign him, Onana might have no other option and would extend his contract with Ajax. For Ajax, their bargaining position in the contract extension talks has strengthened and they might want to keep Onana now and sell him when his value peaks.