The summer transfer window is always littered with mega-money deals being struck for players across Europe.
However, it doesn’t always take a blockbuster fee to land a superstar.
Two stars who have completed eye-watering transfers in recent years are Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba – but both are now set to be available for nothing next summer.
As we approach the final month of the summer transfer window, scrutiny over the future of stars such as Mbappe and Pogba will intensify, with time running out for clubs to cash in on players with deals winding down.
Here, Daily Mirror Sport takes a look at 10 of the globe’s biggest stars who are set to be free agents in the next 12 months according to Transfermarkt.
1) Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint Germain
Mbappe sealed a switch to his hometown club back in 2017, initially arriving at Paris Saint Germain from rivals Monaco on loan with a purchase option included.
PSG quickly took that option up after Mbappe’s blistering first season in Paris, shelling out £120m to pair the youngster up with Brazilian icon Neymar in pursuit of European domination.
Unfortunately for the French outfit, that hasn’t materialised.
And now they appear to be on the brink of losing the 22-year-old striker, who has been linked with a host of European heavyweights as he enters the final year of his current deal.
The French megastar has cast doubt on an extended stay in Paris by openly questioning his future recently.
“I need to take the right decision, which is hard, and give myself the best opportunity to decide well,” said Mbappe back in June.
“I am somewhere where I’m happy, I feel good. But is it the best place for me? I don’t yet have an answer.”
2) Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus
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Global icon Cristiano Ronaldo captured headlines around the world when he completed a blockbuster £100m switch to Juventus from Real Madrid back in 2018.
The Portuguese megastar has enjoyed stunning spells in England and Spain and has excelled again out in Italy.
The four-year agreement that Ronaldo penned back in 2018 is now almost up, with question marks over the star’s next move.
Former Juve chief executive Fabio Paritici, now at Tottenham, expressed back in February of this year that Ronaldo still ‘represented the future of Juventus’.
But it remains to be seen if Ronaldo has his eyes on one final challenge as his legendary career winds down.
3) Paul Pogba – Manchester United
Paul Pogba’s return to Old Trafford is a move which hasn’t particularly gone according to plan – at least as far as Man Utd are concerned.
The Frenchman was prised from Italian juggernauts Juventus in a mega £89m move – a world record at the time.
The move represented a return to the club where Pogba came through the academy before his free departure to Turin.
Pogba’s second spell with the club has been dogged by injuries and inconsistency, with controversy involving the Frenchman’s agent Mino Raiola and moves away never far from the conversation.
Those whispers have intensified this year, with French giants PSG keen on sealing his signature as Pogba’s deal runs into its final 12 months with no sign of an extension.
4) Leon Goretzka – Bayern Munich
Frank Augstein – Pool/Getty Images)
Germany star Leon Goretzka has established himself as a pivotal part of Bayern Munich’s midfield since his free switch from Schalke in 2018.
Goretzka starred for his country at Euro 2020, where he netted the late goal against Hungary to ensure Germany wouldn’t crash out at the group stage.
The 26-year-old midfield maestro’s current terms are due to expire next summer, with Marca reporting that Bayern are keen to tie him down for his prime years.
However, it is also reported that Bayern are trying to maintain their financial stability, so a renewal may not be straightforward with Manchester United lurking.
5) Lorenzo Insigne – Napoli
Lorenzo Insigne has spent his entire career at Napoli after coming through the club academy.
The 30-year-old’s exploits for Italy at Euro 2020 has garnered attention though, with the star’s deal in Naples now in its final 12 months.
Liverpool and Tottenham have both been credited with an interest in the forward, who is seeking a salary of €5m to pen fresh terms.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, however, is said to have a €3.5m limit for the Italian star, with recent comments indicating there isn’t set to be a speedy resolution to this contract stalemate.
“Lorenzo knows that he is a product of our academy,” said De Laurentiis in a press conference.
“If then he is tired and wants to go around Europe it is his choice to [make].”
6) Paulo Dybala – Juventus
Paulo Dybala arrived at Juventus from Palermo for a fee of £23m back in 2015.
The Argentinian striker has netted 72 Serie A goals since his transfer to Turin, but only four last year as the 28-year-old featured in a reduced role due to fitness issues.
Despite reports suggesting Dybala would be keen on extending his stay, it would appear likely that the forward’s time in Italy is coming to an end.
Dybala came close to a switch to the Premier League last year, only for a late Tottenham move to fall through.
It remains to be seen whether his contract situation will reinvigorate that interest from North London – especially with uncertainty surrounding Spurs talisman Harry Kane.
7) Ousmane Dembele – Barcelona
SIPA USA/PA Images)
Ousmane Dembele’s 2017 switch to Barcelona for £135.5m has been blighted by injury.
The youngster sparkled in Germany for Borussia Dortmund, but it has been a different story in La Liga.
Signed as a replacement for Neymar, the 24-year-old has managed just 14 goals in 81 appearances over the past four years and is now in the final 12 months of his current deal.
Barca’s current financial difficulty has been well-documented, and they are keen to ensure Dembele doesn’t depart for free.
Manchester United were linked with the French star earlier this summer.
8) Eduardo Camavinga – Rennes
Eduardo Camavinga has quickly become one of the most coveted players in France over the past couple of years.
The Rennes academy graduate has sparkled in Ligue 1 since making his debut at just 16 and has since gone on to break through into the French senior squad.
The 18-year-old was included in France’s Olympic squad, only to be removed at Rennes request earlier this summer.
Unfortunately for the French outfit, the teenage star has entered the final 12 months of his deal and they look likely to lose him.
Both Liverpool and Manchester United have been touted as potential destinations for the talented midfielder.
9) John Stones – Manchester City
John Stones has endured a rollercoaster spell in Manchester since he arrived at the Etihad in a £50m deal from Everton back in 2016.
The 27-year-old was a key component in Pep Guardiola’s side as City won the title last season, but he seemed to be heading for the exit before that after falling out of favour.
Stones starred for England at the Euros after earning an international recall as a result of his resurgent club form, but is now in the final 12 months of his agreement at City.
It was reported earlier this summer that Stones was set for a bumper new five-year deal, but that has so far failed to come to fruition.
10) Gareth Bale – Real Madrid
Wales star Gareth Bale broke the world transfer record at the time with a dream £85m move to Real Madrid from Tottenham back in 2013.
However, that dream has turned into somewhat of a nightmare.
Bale had issues with former Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, a torrid time with injuries and even came under fire from his own fans.
The Welshman spent last year back on loan at Spurs, managing an impressive 16 goals in 34 games despite spells out on the sideline.
The 32-year-old is certain to leave Madrid when his deal expires next summer – although there are question marks over whether or not Bale will continue playing professionally at all.
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