With Kylian Mbappe’s Paris Saint-Germain contract set to expire at the end of the season, one of the most seismic transfers in recent memory could emanate from this summer’s free-agent market.
This could be the beginning of a trend, too, with players taking greater autonomy over their futures by allowing their contracts to wind down and investigating their options as free agents.
Looking ahead to the summer of 2025, there are a number of star players whose dwindling deals could see them become available for no transfer fee.
Here are 10 big-name players on course to be free agents in 2025.
Already enshrined as one of the greatest forwards of the Premier League era and an Anfield icon, Salah is showing no signs of slowing down at age 31, leading the Premier League scoring charts while also ranking third in the league for assists.
With Salah still in his prime, it will worry Liverpool fans that the Egyptian’s future is only tied to Merseyside for another 18 months.
Should Salah decide to follow Jurgen Klopp out the Anfield exit door either this summer or next as free agent, the Saudi Pro League will be one viable destination.
The Reds superstar was the subject of a £150 million bid from Saudi side Al-Ittihad last summer.
Kevin De Bruyne
Salah is not the only Premier League all-time great receiving serious Saudi interest.
De Bruyne also has just a year and a half remaining on his Manchester City contract and, as TEAMtalk exclusively reported back in November, the brilliant Belgian is wanted by Al Nassr, where he could link up with Cristiano Ronaldo.
It was reported earlier this season that City had placed talks over new terms for the 32-year-old on hold.
The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner will be 38 by the time his contract with Inter Miami expires at the end of the 2025 MLS season.
By that stage, the World Cup winner will likely be contemplating calling time on arguably the most glorious career the game has ever seen and walking off into the Floridian sunset.
But should Messi decide to continue playing and seek one final swansong in Europe or elsewhere, there will be no shortage of takers.
Virgil van Dijk
After initially failing to rule out an imminent Liverpool exit for himself in the wake of Klopp’s shock announcement that he will step down at the end of the season, Van Dijk has recently affirmed his commitment to the 19-time champions.
“To be 100% clear, I’m fully committed to the club,” he said. “I love the club, I love the fans, it is fully taken out of context.
“It’s not about me, it’s not about I, it’s about us and nothing has changed.”
Those words will have been reassuring to Liverpool fans. But the fact the totemic Dutchman’s contract has entered its final 18 months worrisome.
When Neymar moved to Al Hilal last summer, the Brazilian icon signed an eye-watering deal that was to net him £274 million.
That contract only secured the former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain superstar to the Saudi Pro League side for two years, though, meaning he will be free to return to Europe, should he choose, in the summer of 2025, by which time he’ll be 33.
Thus far, Neymar has offered scant return on investment for Al Hilal, with just five appearances and one goal.
Former Manchester City winger Sane has formed a profitable partnership with Harry Kane since the Englishman’s arrival at Bayern Munich, but it could be a short-lived one.
The 28-year-old German speedster is out of contract at the end of next season and is being linked with a switch back to the Premier League.
Sane is a reported target for Liverpool and Manchester City, however Sport have recently claimed the ex-Schalke star will renew terms in Bavaria.
Yet another Liverpool player whose long-term Anfield future is yet to be secured, Alexander-Arnold reportedly agreed terms on a new deal some time ago, but no fresh contract has yet been inked.
It is surely a formality that the Reds will tie down their 25-year-old vice-captain sooner rather than later, and the club are believed to be ready to hash out the formalities of a renewal imminently.
The longer the situation remains unresolved, though, the higher anxiety surrounding the future of one of the club’s cornerstones will rise.
He only turned 29 this week but already Kimmich has been central to eight Bundesliga title triumphs with Bayern Munich. It is something of a surprise, then, that the former RB Leipzig midfielder’s future at the club is in doubt.
With his contract expiring in a year and a half, an Allianz Arena exit for the versatile Germany star appears increasingly likely. The Athletic reported last month that talks over a new deal have not yet even begun.
According to ESPN, Manchester United are lining up a swoop for Kimmich as part of new part-owner Sir Jim Radcliffe’s plan to revitalise Erik ten Hag’s side.
Another Bayern star whose deal at the Allianz Arena is set to expire in the summer of 2025, Canadian flyer Davies is one of the most dynamic full-backs in the game.
TEAMtalk revealed back in December that talks between Davies and the German champions over a new deal have stalled.
Still only 23 years old and already vastly experienced at the highest levels, there will be no shortage of suitors should he hit the free-agency market, with Manchester City, Liverpool and Real Madrid reportedly monitoring his situation.
A reported target for Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, Toney is one of the Premier League’s most sought-after centre-forwards.
With the 27-year-old England international already among the goals since returning from an eight-month ban, Brentford manager Thomas Frank has admitted that Toney’s contract situation means the Bees will likely not be able to hold on to their star man beyond this summer.