With the transfer window now open, clubs are free to buy, sell and loan to their heart’s content. One unique substory of this frenzied month is that of players with six months remaining on their current deals.
These players are now free to negotiate with foreign clubs on a pre-contract agreement, or simply wait until the summer to make a move. Just who is on this list of the best soon to be free agents? Here is your big six expiring contracts XI.
Big Six Expiring Contracts XI: January 2019
GK – Petr Cech
He helped the Blues to four Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one Europa League and one Champions League before making the switch to Arsenal in 2015.
Since then Cech has added another FA Cup, beating his former club to do so, but is nearing the end of his illustrious career. Turning 37 in April he likely has another few years in him, just not at a big six club.
With Bernd Leno the undisputed first-choice at the Emirates, it seems likely to see Petr Cech depart at the end of his contract this summer.
LB – Nacho Monreal
At that time, he served as understudy to Kieran Gibbs, however, eventually won the starting spot with consistent performances. Now age 32, Monreal is still the first-choice left-back at the Emirates, however, injuries are starting to pile up.
This season the player has appeared just ten times in the Premier League and has played fewer matches year on year since 2015-2016. While his career isn’t over by a long shot, there are questions over just how much longer La Cabra can perform at a big six club.
RB – Antonio Valencia
Valencia has been at Old Trafford since 2009 when Sir Alex Ferguson signed the player from Wigan Athletic. Since then, he has been almost ever-present in the Manchester United starting XI when fit.
He hasn’t always been a fullback, though, as he was first deputised in the position on an emergency basis. The Colombian did well enough to make the position his own for the past few seasons.
Now age 33, it looks like Valencia’s United career is in its final few months. The player has appeared in the Premier League just five times this season.
However, the player will leave with silverware, having helped the Red Devils to two Premier Leagues, an FA Cup, two League Cups and one Europa League.
CB – David Luiz
The Brazilian centre-back looked like he was on the way out of Stamford Bridge last season, making just ten appearances in the league. However, with Maurizio Sarri taking over at Chelsea, David Luiz has been brought back into the fold.
He’s made 24 appearances across all competitions this season as of the time of writing and has even been linked with a contract extension with the Blues. However, they are known to have an aversion to giving new contracts to players over the age of 30.
If Luiz does leave in the summer, it will not be empty-handed. The Brazilian has won a Premier League, two FA Cups, a Europa League and a Champions League during his tenure in London.
CB – Vincent Kompany
The Belgian has seen City go from Premier League also-rans to one of the biggest clubs in Europe. During his long tenure, Kompany has lifted three Premier Leagues, three League Cups and one FA Cup.
While he isn’t as influential as he once was, the 32-year-old is still making an impact this season. For example, he was instrumental in his side’s victory over Liverpool to keep the title race relatively close.
When Kompany does eventually go, it will be as a club legend.
CM – Aaron Ramsey
No one seems to know where the Welshman will go, but it seems a sure bet that it will be at a large continental club. Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Juventus are all potential suitors, amongst others.
Ramsey has been with Arsenal since the summer of 2008 when he chose Wenger over Ferguson. He’s endeared himself to Arsenal supporters since then, even if his trophy haul has been modest.
He scored the winning goals in two FA Cup finals for the Gunners, in 2014 and again in 2017, and helped them lift another in 2015.
Still just 28-years-old, Aaron Ramsey could make an impact for years to come at a big club. Arsenal fans will surely live to regret the player’s departure.
CM – James Milner
At the time of his Premier League debut for Leeds in 2002, Milner was the second-youngest player to appear in the competition. He was also deployed as a winger. Things have really changed since then.
James Milner has gone on to play for Newcastle, Aston Villa, Manchester City and now Liverpool. He also changed position a few times, going from a winger to a central midfielder to a fullback and now back to a midfielder.
His 508 Premier League appearances speak to both his versatility and longevity. He recently turned 33, so it is likely that this will be his final season playing for a big six side.
Then again, that’s what many said when his Manchester City contract was expiring.
CM – Ander Herrera
The Bilbao native joined Manchester United from his boyhood club in 2014. His fortunes have gone about the same way as his employers since then.
A skilled player no doubt, Herrera has been unable to stop United’s fall from grace since Ferguson’s departure. He’s helped his side to a Europa League, an FA Cup and a League Cup in the first four seasons of his stay.
Three trophies in four years is certainly not up to the Red Devils’ lofty expectations and as a rebuild looms in the summer, Herrera looks like one of the players who will make room for new faces.
LW – Danny Welbeck
However, the Englishman’s fine form in the early stages of the campaign made him difficult to leave out. That is before yet another injury halted his progress. Unfortunately, that has been the theme of his Arsenal career.
Since joining the Gunners in the summer of 2014, Welbeck has picked up eight different injuries, according to Transfermarkt. Every time the striker has put together a good run of form, he seems to pick up a new injury.
As of right now, it looks like Arsenal will not offer the player a new deal, but as he is just 28 the chances are good that a relatively large club will take a chance on him.
RW – Daniel Sturridge
Daniel Sturridge has played for exactly half of the big six in his career. Making his first-team debut for Manchester City in 2006, the future looked very bright for the English striker.
A move to Chelsea came in 2009 before Liverpool purchased the player in 2013. After forming a lethal partnership with Luis Suarez at Anfield, Sturridge seemed poised to take the world by storm.
However, that never quite happened. He’s scored 50 goals from 109 Premier League matches for Liverpool to date, which is respectable, but he’s fallen short of the lofty expectations of being the next Thierry Henry.
While he probably won’t get another move to another big six club the player still has quality for sure. Likely most any midtable club would be happy to have him.
ST – Olivier Giroud
The Frenchman is a bit of an enigma. He was a late bloomer, not getting a chance in any top-flight league until the age of 23 with Montpellier, but it was enough to earn a move to Arsenal by the age of 25.
While he was never known as a top striker, he provided consistent production for the Gunners as well as France. Despite not scoring a single goal in the 2018 World Cup, he also helped Les Bleus to win the tournament.
Another strange statistic is that he won the FA Cup twice on two occasions; in 2014 and again in 2015, as well as in both 2017 and 2018.
Now age 32 the striker will be free to join any club in the summer, though his days in the big six may be numbered.
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