A player entering the final year of their contract often leaves clubs in a very difficult position.
Either they stand firm and risk losing a star name for nothing when their deal expires or they sell up early to ensure a fee, even if it is a fraction of the player’s true value, is received.
The latter option is what Chelsea have done in the past with Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard, and what Arsenal did when they let Alexis Sanchez leave for Manchester United in exchange for Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
And this summer a number of stars across Europe will be entering the final 12 months of their deal. So there will be potential bargains on the market and we have picked out five players Premier League sides could attempt to sign for cut-price fees.
David Alaba (Bayern Munich)
Regarded as one of the finest full-backs in Europe, Alaba is considering his future at Bayern with the club yet to formally offer him a new deal.
And the versatile Austrian will not be short of offers if he decides to quit Bundesliga giants this summer. According to news outlets in Spain, both Barcelona and Real Madrid are interested in Alaba while Manchester City have been linked, too.
There were reports the Premier League champions would offer Leroy Sane in exchange for the 27-year-old but those have been dismissed by Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
However, Bayern would not want to lose Alaba for nothing in the summer of 2021 so may be open to selling the defender this summer at a reduced price.
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Thiago (Bayern Munich)
The Spanish midfielder is another Bayern Munich star who could be available for a knockdown fee at the end of the current campaign.
Thiago has established himself as one of the finest ball-playing midfielders in Europe during his time in Bavaria but, according to a report in Bild in January, the club’s hierarchy are split as to whether he offers enough in big games.
That perhaps explains why Bayern have yet to hand the 28-year-old a new deal despite his obvious talents. In the Bundesliga this season, only one midfielder completes more passes in the final third per 90 than Thiago (11.62) and none better his 6.71 recoveries in the opposition half per 90.
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Memphis Depay (Lyon)
Since leaving Manchester United in 2017, Depay has blossomed into one of Europe’s most consistent attackers at Lyon.
He has struck 53 goals and created a further 43 in just 134 games for the French club and has been transformed from a tricky winger to an effective central forward.
This season Depay had netted 14 goals in 18 matches in all competitions and was even handed the captain’s armband for a string of matches in December, a sign of his improved maturity.
However, a knee ligament injury sustained in training ended his campaign and he has yet to sign an extension to his deal which expires next summer.
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Ferran Torres (Valencia)
The 19-year-old winger is the latest gem to have emerged from the Valencia academy and a move to a European giant is inevitable.
Liverpool have already been linked with a move for Torres but would face competition from Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Like many of his Spanish contemporaries, Torres is blessed with excellent technique and marries that with balance, composure, the ability to play off either foot, and an appreciation of space on the pitch.
His current contract contains a €90m release clause, but unless he signs a new deal Valencia will have to accept a significantly reduced fee this summer.
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Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain)
Once viewed as the golden boy of German football, Draxler has yet to live up to the undoubted potential he showed during his formative years at Schalke.
That, in part, is because of the moves he has made.
His transfer to Wolfsburg in 2015 didn’t work out and, while he started well after joining PSG in January 2017, the arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe six months later quickly pushed him down the pecking order at the Parc des Princes.
Draxler has started just 12 games in all competitions this season and the Ligue 1 giants have yet to enter talks over extending his contract despite the German’s willingness to remain in the French capital.
But given he is still only 26 years old, there is time for the German international to become a household name at a top club.
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