As we start 2023, there are incredible footballers entering the final six months of their contracts. The clubs are already beginning talks with some of them with the intention to keep them. Meanwhile, there have been some rumours that others are seeking a new challenge elsewhere. From Lionel Messi to Marco Reus, let’s take a look at the players left with six months on their contracts.
Lionel Messi is currently enjoying his second season with Paris Saint German (PSG) after making a shocking move from Barcelona. The Argentine attacking player is playing his final year according to the contract he signed with the French giant. The club though has the option to extend by one year. At 35, it remains to be seen if the World Cup winner will commit his future to PSG. There have been some speculations that teams from the United States of America and Argentina are interested in his signature.
Luka Modric’s contract was set to expire in June 2022 but Real Madrid opted to extend it by one year. At 37 years of age, Modric still remains the vital player in the Madrid set-up and doesn’t show any signs of ageing as yet. There are suggestions that the club will want to keep him for another year. Besides that, it has been rumoured that clubs from Major League Soccer (MLS) are interested in his services. Nevertheless, Modric had a wonderful spell with the Whites winning a record five UEFA Champions League titles and two league titles.
Marco Reus previously indicated that he wants to end his playing career at Borussia Dortmund. However, the 33-year-old winger’s contract is set to expire in the summer of 2023 after he only managed to land a one-year extension last season. Things can change though and the Germany mercurial winger will want to seek a new challenge in another league or club before hanging up his boots.
Can Real Madrid’s talisman leave for free in the summer of 2023? Karim Benzema has been outstanding of late and played a crucial role in delivering the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League and La Liga titles for the club. His goal-scoring form which saw him net over 50 goals in 2022 means, Madrid will intend to keep him much longer. The 34-year-old is in his 14th season with the club since joining in 2009 from Lyon. There are rumours that clubs from US and France are interested to break the bank and sign Benzema but nothing concrete as yet.
Considered one of the biggest bargain transfers in football history, Toni Kroos has been a key player for Real Madrid since joining from German heavyweights Bayern Munich. He will be 33 years old by June 2023 and it looks like his eight-year spell with Los Blancos is slowly coming to an end. The club has done an excellent job in terms of bringing youngsters like Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni to fill up Kroos’s role in the future.
Roberto Firmino is playing in his eighth season at Liverpool and it looks like the 2022-23 campaign may well be his last with the Reds. In the past, the Brazil star provided the fans with wonderful performances especially forming a deadly trio partnership with Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane. But since the arrival of big signing Darwin Nunez, Firmino has been relegated to the bench. It remains to be seen if the club management will extend his stay at Anfield.
Since joining Manchester City in 2016 from Borussia Dortmund, Gundogan has enjoyed his stay in England. Notable with a cracking goal against Aston Villa in the last match in the 2021/22 English Premier League (EPL) to hand Manchester City a league title. But it looks like his seven years with the club are coming to an end. At the start of this season, he was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona and Real Madrid but nothing progressive came in the end. As he is going to be a free agent by end of the season, surely teams will be gunning for his signature.
* The list does not end as the likes of Angel Di Maria, Marco Asensio and Naby Keita are some of the notable players who will be without the contract.