The Hottest Free Agents This Summer

As one season ends, another starts. Such is how much the transfer windows have become apart of football, they are viewed as a season in their own right. The transfer season, especially over the summer, is constantly being talked about with players at the tip of fans’s tongues, getting excited about which player might come to their club.
While there will be a record-breaking amount of money spent this summer – as there always is – clubs should be looking at the free agent market where they might just find themselves a deal or two.
Here are five talented players whose contracts are expiring at the end of the season: 

 

Bernard 

While the wider fans might not have heard of Shakhtar Donetsk’s Bernard, the winger has been consistently performing domestic and in Europe. 
After coming to the Ukraine in 2013, Bernard has used Donetsk as a stepping stone to try and make his way through to a European heavyweight club. At 25-years-old, the Brazilian is now on the verge of making that step after what has been yet another successful season with the Ukrainian champions. 
The Brazilian can play as a left winger, or through the middle, occupying the space behind the striker and providing support. Completing 2.1 dribbles per-game, Bernard is a typical Brazilian with his intricate skills and technical astuteness in tight spaces. 
Shakhtar Donetsk have already told Bernard that he is free to leave the club this summer, and therefore won’t receive any money for breaking his contract. For teams around Europe who play on the front foot and dominate possession, Bernard would be a very clever signing who can go from strength to strength. 

Marouane Fellaini

He might not be that popular with Manchester United fans, but there is a reason as to why a lot of European teams are currently chasing Fellaini’s signature this summer.

 

Juventus, Milan, Galatasaray, Besiktas and Paris Saint-Germain are just a few big hitters who want to recruit the Belgian international on a free transfer, but it is his own coach, José Mourinho, who has made the most public stance of all, practically begging his executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, to conclude a new deal. 
Fellaini certainly has an unorthodox way of playing, but it quite clearly works in certain situations. The best way to describe Fellaini’s usefulness is creating a nuisance in the opposition’s box. It sounds over simplistic, but not a lot of players can cause mayhem like Fellaini and create chances and goals on a consistent basis in the 16-yard box. 
The former Everton midfielder is certainly not to everyone’s taste, but there is no denying that he can cause problems for the teams he faces. It will be interesting to see how this standoff between Fellaini and the Red Devils develops, with a whole host of clubs ready to pull the trigger and recruit the Belgian.
Leicester & West Ham head the betting for the big Belgian – and are 8/1 to sign Fellaini.
Free Agents

Mario Balotelli

Arguably one of the most controversial players in world football, Balotelli has made a name of himself for being a talent that perhaps was never truly fulfilled.
In one game for Inter, when Mourinho was his manager, the Portuguese boss said he spoke to the Italian centre forward for 14 of the 15 minutes at half time. During this monologue, he pleaded with Balotelli to make sure he keeps his head and doesn’t react to anything that might get him sent off as he was already on a yellow card.
Within 15 minutes, Balotelli made a rash tackle, lost his head and was sent off against Rubin Kazan in the Champions League. It is fair to say that Balotelli is a very testing character to try and manage.
Saying that, the Italian international does also possess unbelievable moments where he carves open teams and punishes them with ease. At Nice, Balotelli has reinvigorated his career somewhat and has found the back of the net on 16 occasions this season.
There is plenty of speculation going around regarding Balotelli’s future, but a few Premier League teams in particular could do far worse in trying to recruit the Italian on a free transfer. 
He might be costly in terms of wages, but given he is still in his peak years at 27-years-old, Balotelli might well be a gamble that pays off.
Likely Serie A runners-up Napoli are the 5/1 favourites to sign the nomadic frontman this summer, with a host of Premier League sides reportedly interested as well.
Free Agents

Emre Can

Possibly the most lucrative players on the free agents list, Can has been instrumental in Liverpool’s uprising over the last few years under Jürgen Klopp. While there have been a fair few injury problems throughout the season, the Reds would love to extend the German international’s contract and keep him at the club.
The 24-year-old, now just approaching his prime years, has offers from a variety of elite teams around Europe, which includes Juventus and his former club Bayern Munich. The two clubs, who are champions in their respective countries, have been chasing Can for the past six months and will want him to come straight into their first-teams. 
The German offers a great sense of stability in midfield for any team, but has also shown his willingness to get forward and pose a threat in the box. This season, Can has recorded six goals and five assists in 37 appearances. He is a deep-lying midfielder that is usually the one to start attacks rather than finish them. 
Klopp will want to keep his compatriot at the base of his midfield, but Liverpool will not bend their contract rules and offer him the release clause that he demands to sign an extension. The Reds feel that it sets a dangerous precedent that could follow the way in which Neymar’s departure did at Barcelona. 
Can is going to become a world-class player, if he is not already one, but Liverpool are currently facing a losing battle in trying to keep him.
Max Meyer
The Schalke midfielder is one of the most creative and exciting players in the Bundesliga, but has demanded to leave the German club for pastures new.
Schalke released a statement suggesting the divorce would be amicable, but it has now come to light that the club’s management have banished him from training with the first-team and won’t feature again for the club. The last game he played in was early April. 
The 22-year-old is a very technically sound midfielder who has fantastic vision when picking out his forward runners. Similar to Pirlo’s style, Meyer is a player that the opposition have to close down quickly and thwart the danger, or he will punish you with his sublime array of passing.
Arsenal, through new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, formerly of Borussia Dortmund, has been closely watching Meyer’s progress this season and the Gunners are likely to offer Meyer a route to North London. 
The German, who has represented his country four times, is not the biggest, strongest, nor quickest, but he gets around that with ease due to his tactical intelligence of knowing in what position to be in at all times. 
Meyer is set to be the subject of a bidding war for his signature, but the Premier League is said to be his priority.
This is reflected in the betting, with Arsenal & PSG joint 4/1 favourites to land the starlet’s signature, and Tottenham & Liverpool both 6/1 to snap him up..
*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article

Liam Canning

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Sports Broadcaster & Journalist

Liam Canning is an NCTJ-qualified sports journalist that writes from the Premier League to Serie A to the Champions League and back.

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