Man City: Departing Aguero has been 'wonderful servant'
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With the 2020/21 Premier League season now over, top-flight clubs will turn their attention to the summer transfer market. As budgets are likely to be reduced ahead of the 2021/22 campaign, managers will be on the hunt for bargains.
Luckily for them, the Premier League out of contract list contains some big-name stars in 2021, with Sergio Aguero’s Manchester City exit set to cause a transfer scramble.
Express Sport takes a look at the ‘best XI’ options on the free transfer market as Aguero and co search for a new challenge.
GK: TOM HEATON
Former England international Heaton will leave Villa Park in the coming weeks after opting not to extend his contract with Dean Smith’s side.
The ex-Burnley star lost his starting place to Emiliano Martinez in 2020/21 and he wants to move on and provide an experienced squad option elsewhere.
United are strongly rumoured to already have a deal sewn up with Lee Grant and Sergio Romero on their way out of Old Trafford.
DF: ERIC GARCIA
Manchester City defender Eric Garcia confirmed last summer he would not be signing a contract extension as he wanted to return to Spain in 2021.
Pep Guardiola has begrudgingly accepted his request and Barcelona are confident of bringing him back to the Nou Camp, after he spent nine years with their La Masia academy, before joining City in 2017.
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DF: ROMAN SAISS
Saiss’ Wolves future has been plunged into doubt following Nuno Santo’s departure.
The club have the option to extend his deal by 12 months, but the certainty over that has reduced as Santo’s exit was confirmed.
The Moroccan international’s next step is likely to depend on whether the new manager wants to activate his extension.
DF: DAVID LUIZ
Arsenal opted against invoking their own extension clause on Brazilian centre-back Luiz and he will now leave the Emirates Stadium.
The 34-year-old has endured a mixed two seasons in north London, and he will need to lower his wage demands to secure a new club.
Speculation over a return to PSG has been played down in France and he could head back to Brazil to end his career.
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DF: RYAN BERTRAND
Former Chelsea defender Bertrand has left Southampton after seven seasons on the south coast.
The Saints confirmed his exit earlier this month with Ralph Hasenhuttl looking to bring in younger players this summer.
Leicester City are rumoured to be the front runners to sign him as Brendan Rodgers looks for a long-term replacement to Ben Chilwell.
MF: ROBBIE BRADY
Republic of Ireland international Brady looks certain to be released by Burnley as part of a major summer clear out by Sean Dyche.
The Clarets opted to activate their one-year extension on the midfielder last summer, but after another injury-plagued campaign he will now leave, with Celtic tracking him as a free transfer.
MF: GINI WIJNALDUM
Dutch star Wijnaldum was given a guard of honour at Anfield on his final Liverpool game on the last day of the 2020/21 campaign.
He turned down a new deal, despite Jurgen Klopp’s preference to keep him, as he wants to pursue a new challenge away from the Premier League.
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman is rumoured to be on the verge of clinching a reunion with the 30-year-old after edging out Bayern Munich.
MF: JUAN MATA
Fans favourite Mata may have played his last game for Manchester United after coming off the bench to score in the penalty shootout in their Europa League defeat to Villarreal.
The Spaniard has hinted at a willingness to sign on for another year, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks set for sweeping changes at Old Trafford, and Mata could move back to Spain for a final career run out.
MF: JEFF SCHLUPP
Schlupp is one of more than a dozen Crystal Palace players ending their contracts next month.
Whoever replaces Roy Hodgson at Selhurst Park will have a major rebuilding job on their hands as the core of the first-team squad look set to leave.
Schlupp will have no shortage of suitors if his deal does expire with Aston Villa rumoured to be monitoring him with interest.
FW: SERGIO AGUERO
Aguero will be hoping for a fairy-tale farewell in the Champions League final after signing off from the Premier League as the highest-ever scorer for one club.
The Argentinian has been strongly linked with a move to Barcelona, alongside Garcia and Wijnaldum, with a deal potentially confirmed before he heads off on Copa America duty.
FW: CHRISTIAN BENTEKE
Benteke joins Schlupp on Palace’s possible exit list with links to West Ham continuing to grow.
The Belgian enjoyed his best goalscoring campaign since 2016/17 last season but if he is unconvinced by Palace’s contract offer, or their future plans, he could leave.
However, any potential move is unlikely to be decided until after Euro 2020 as he prepares to join up with Roberto Martinez’s squad next month.
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