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Predicting where nine of the biggest out-of-contract players will end up in 2022

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Predicting where the 9 biggest free agents will end up this summer

The season is over, the summer transfer window is nearly open and a string of high-profile players are almost at the end of their lucrative contracts.

There’ll be plenty of intrigue surrounding the next destination of these stars – and we’ve taken a stab at predicting where they’ll end up.

There’s been an increasing trend of elite players running their contracts down and leaving their club on a free transfer – something increasingly seductive for clubs willing to invest in a player’s wages but eschewing the sky-high transfer fees that are common in 2022.

We’ve identified nine of the most high-profile free agents this summer and predicted where they’ll end up next season.

 

Paul Pogba

Pogba’s second spell at Manchester United has been underwhelming and there seems no sorrow, from either party, that the midfielder will leave Old Trafford this summer.

For every mind-bending assist, including four in one game against Leeds, Pogba has infuriated United fans with his aimless performances and inability to string together a season of consistent performances.

Pogba told French newspaper Le Figaro that he played better with the France national team because he knew exactly what was expected of him.

“With Les Bleus, I play, and, on top of that, in my position,” he said. “I know my role, I feel the confidence of the coach, the players.

“It is normal, to feel this difference with Manchester, because it is difficult to be consistent when you change position often, also the playing style or who you are playing with.”

He’ll be in demand this summer, but PSG looks like his preferred destination. Zidane wanted Pogba at Madrid, and there’s every chance he replaces Pochettino in the dugout this summer.

But could Real Madrid spite PSG by signing him?

READ: 8 Galactico signings Real Madrid can target after missing out on Mbappe

Paulo Dybala

Earlier this season, Juventus revealed that Dybala’s contract will not be renewed and it’s a decision that makes financial and sporting sense.

They were willing to give the Argentina international a new, five-year deal worth €10 million (€8m plus €2m in bonuses) per annum – prompting disbelief from the Juve supporters.

That, alongside Dybala’s injury record, prompted Juventus to sign Dusan Vlahovic in January but there’s no doubting they’ll miss the 28-year-old.

Nobody scored more Serie A goals (10) for the Bianconeri in 2021-22, which is impressive given he missed a number of games through injury.

A number of clubs, including Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Tottenham, have reported interest in the forward but we can only see him ending up at Internazionale – Dybala seems settled in Italy and would be an attractive proposition for the Serie A runners-up.

Reports from Italy suggest that Inter have already offered Dybala a lucrative deal and could soon have him in for a medical.

Antonio Rudiger

The worst-kept secret in football is that the centre-half will be strutting his stuff at Real Madrid next season.

We’re just waiting on the announcement.

Andreas Christensen

Barcelona are in the market for a new centre-back this summer, with Gerard Pique greying by the day, and Chelsea defender Christensen is apparently exactly what they’re looking for.

Sources in Spain claim a deal will be concluded imminently, with Chelsea in no position to offer a contract extension to the Denmark international.

“It is in doubt. We hear the rumours. The situation with Andreas for many weeks is clear,” Tuchel said in a February press conference.

“We are not happy about it because, me personally, and the club representatives think it is best for him to stay. We rely heavily on him. He did not sign yet. He did not communicate. This is also a signal to us.

“Communication from his side is that he did not sign until now. We have to consider the possibility that he leaves us.”

Christensen has age on his side and would feel confident of becoming a success at the Camp Nou. It appears only a matter of time that he’ll be facing up against his old pal Rudiger in El Clasico.

Ousmane Dembele

Dembele looked set to leave Barcelona upon the expiry of his current contract but his red-hot form in the final months of the season has shifted the goalposts at the Camp Nou. 

Barca had believed the forward would secure a move to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, according to Sport.

But Foot Mercato have since reported that the Catalan club are now keen on keeping the France international, who has 11 assists since the turn of the year.

If Dembele does opt to leave the Blaugrana, the Frenchman certainly won’t be short of options when it comes to his next destination – but we can see him joining his Les Bleus team-mate Mbappe at PSG.

Mbappe reportedly has real decision-making power at the Parc des Princes since signing his new deal, and reports suggest he’s keen for Neymar to be shipped out, with Dembele to take his place.

Alexandre Lacazette

It’s all a bit up in the air at Arsenal this summer, especially in terms of their strikeforce, with Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette both out of contract.

“I will talk to all three players [Nketiah and Elneny too], now or tomorrow…” told reporters at the end of the season.

“But we have clear ideas about what we want to do. [Their future] has been decided but it is very difficult to communicate it. To do it sooner, one way or the other, with three situations like these, would have been very, very clumsy.”

It sounds like Nketiah will stay, but we wouldn’t hold our breath over Lacazette. The 30-year-old is on the record in desiring Champions League football. We can see him returning to France, but boyhood club Lyon can’t offer European football. Marseille can, but they’re Lyon’s hated rivals. Monaco, then – why not?

Jesse Lingard

Yeah, we’re surprised Lingard stayed at Manchester United last summer too. This season has been a wasted one for the sometime-England international.

A move to West Ham seemed inevitable until they became United’s Champions League rivals, while newly-minted Newcastle United have emerged as an option.

But now he’s out of contract and free to go wherever, we can only imagine he’ll go back to David Moyes’ Hammers – he produced his very football on loan there, and it looks a natural fit.

Christian Eriksen

This one is probably the hardest to call.

The 30-year-old’s comeback at Brentford has been one of the most heart-warming stories of the season and we wouldn’t bet against the Denmark international staying in west London next year.

But Gabby Agbonlahor has been talking up a sensational return to Tottenham.

Asked whether Eriksen could rejoin Spurs this summer, Agbonlahor told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “He could do.

“All he’s got to do at the moment is keep performing, keep those performance levels …

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