Which of Europe's biggest names are still available on free transfers?
which of europe's biggest names are still available on free

Which of Europe’s biggest names are still available on free transfers?

Paul Pogba, Gareth Bale, Christian EriksenPaul Pogba (left) and Gareth Bale (right) are still high on the list of the most expensive transfers ever

Some of European football’s biggest names are available as free agents this summer with their contracts at their current clubs expiring.

Will Paul Pogba return to Juventus? What will life after Real Madrid look like for Gareth Bale? And where could Christian Eriksen end up next?

BBC Sport takes a closer look at a selection of the household names preparing to find new employers for the forthcoming season.

Gareth Bale

Gareth BaleBeing fit and sharp for the 2022 World Cup is a key consideration for Gareth Bale

Current club: Real Madrid

Linked with: DC United, Cardiff City, Newcastle United, Nottingham Forest, AC Milan, Tottenham Hotspur

Gareth Bale’s departure from Real Madrid comes after a trophy-laden nine years in the Spanish capital, where he won five Champions League titles and La Liga three times.

The Wales forward, 32, joined the Spanish champions in September 2013 for a then-world record transfer fee of over £80m.

He has already outlined that his family and fitness for the World Cup will be his main priorities when he decides where to play next season.

Paul Pogba

Paul PogbaPaul Pogba’s last appearance for Manchester United came in a 4-0 defeat at Liverpool

Current club: Manchester United

Linked with: Juventus, Real Madrid, Paris St-Germain, Manchester City.

Paul Pogba leaves Manchester United this summer after an underwhelming six years in his second spell at the club.

The midfielder won the EFL Cup and Europa League within a year of his much-hyped return to United in a then-world record £89m transfer from Juventus in 2016.

While the 29-year-old helped France win the World Cup in 2018, he has only shown flashes of his superb range of passing and powerful forward running at United, where he has instead often proved to be a defensive liability and irritated supporters with a perceived lack of effort.

In a documentary covering his private life Pogba reportedly claimedexternal-link United’s offer of an improved £300,00 per-week contract was “nothing” suggesting that whoever does sign him will need to have deep pockets.

Christian Eriksen

Christian EriksenChristian Eriksen has 115 caps for Denmark – only Peter Schmeichel, Dennis Rommedahl and Simon Kjaer have won more

Current club: Brentford

Linked with: Brentford, Tottenham, Manchester United

Christian Eriksen should really be part way through a four-and-a-half year contract at Inter Milan.

However, the 30-year-old had a cardiac arrest while playing at Euro 2020 last June for Denmark, changing the trajectory of his career, with his return to football coming after being fitted with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD).

That saw Eriksen released by Inter – because the ICD device is not permitted in Serie A – and rock up at Brentford on a six-month deal where his quality shone through as he helped the team secure their Premier League status.

The Bees are keen to keep the former Ajax playmaker but will he stay in London or head elsewhere with the likes of Manchester United interested?

Jesse Lingard

Jesse LingardJesse Lingard started just two Premier League games last term

Current club: Manchester United

Linked with: West Ham United, Newcastle, Tottenham, Roma, AC Milan

Jesse Lingard departs Manchester United after coming through the academy ranks and spending two decades with the club.

With United having surprisingly elected to keep the England midfielder last summer, the 29-year-old endured a difficult 2021-22 campaign and was utilised sparingly.

Before that a successful loan switch to West Ham in early 2021 served as a reminder of his qualities and finding a new club where he is guaranteed playing time in a World Cup year may enter his thinking.

Ousmane Dembele

Ousmane DembeleOn his day Ousmane Dembele is one of the most exciting forwards in world football

Current club: Barcelona

Linked with: Chelsea, PSG

Things have not quite gone to plan for Ousmane Dembele since he joined Barcelona in a one of the most expensive deals of all time from Borussia Dortmund in 2017.

Still only 25, injuries have hampered the France forward’s development meaning he has only shown fleeting glimpses of his rich talent. When on song his pace, trickery and ability to run opposition defences ragged can bring the Nou Camp fans to their feet.

While he has repeatedly been linked with a move away, club president Joan Laporta and head coach Xaxi are both hopeful he can be persuaded to stay.

Edinson Cavani

Edinson CavaniEdinson Cavani scored just two goals last term for Manchester United in an injury-blighted season

Current club: Manchester United

Linked with: Real Madrid, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Juventus.

Edinson Cavani enjoyed a mixed two years at Manchester United.

The 35-year-old Uruguay forward, who arrived on a free transfer from PSG in October 2020, started brightly with 17 goals in all competitions in his first season.

While Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival and a seemingly endless list of injuries saw him struggle last term. His personality and experience could still prove a valuable commodity for prospective suitors.

Fernandinho

Fernandinho (with the trophy)Fernandinho joined Manchester City from Shakhtar Donetsk for £34m in 2013

Current club: Manchester City

Linked with: Botafogo, Flamengo , Corinthians, Athletico Paranaense

Fernandinho, 37, made 19 Premier League appearances as he helped Manchester City to their fourth title in five seasons.

The Brazil international has already expressed a desire to move back to his homeland when he leaves City, where he won five top-flight titles, six EFL Cups and the FA Cup.

Luis Suarez

Luis SuarezLuis Suarez has averaged a goal less than every two games over his career

Current club: Atletico Madrid

Linked with: Juventus, Aston Villa, Sevilla, Inter Miami

At 35, Luis Suarez is another that fits in the veteran category, with his imminent departure from the Wanda Metropolitano coming off the back of a season where he scored 13 goals in all competitions.

The Uruguay international may not be as dynamic as he was in his younger years but his nous and movement around goal could tempt several clubs into making him a short-term offer.

Isco

IscoIsco had become a peripheral figure under manager Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid

Current club: Real Madrid

Linked with: Sevilla, Arsenal, Tottenham

Isco packs his bags at the Bernabeu this summer as a five-time Champions League winner and three-time La Liga champion.

Still in the prime of his career, the 30-year-old playmaker will look to rediscover his mojo after falling out of favour at Madrid and losing his spot in the Spain squad.

Angel di Maria

Angel di MariaAngel di Maria was given an emotional send-off in his final game for Paris St-Germain

Current club: PSG

Linked with: Juventus, Barcelona

Argentina forward Angel di Maria enjoyed the perfect send-off from PSG, scoring in the 5-0 win over Metz in his final game and being withdrawn to a standing ovation from the Parc des Princes crowd.

The 34-year-old scored 93 goals in 295 appearances for PSG, winning five league titles and nine domestic cups during his time in the French capital.

Juventus and Barcelona are thought to be battling it out for the winger’s signature.

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