Bayern Munich ace Robert Lewandowski has been a hot topic in the German and Spanish media over the last few weeks.
After eight illustrious seasons at the Allianz Arena, the 33-year-old striker has expressed his desire to leave Bayern (via Fabrizio Romano).
Romano has also revealed that La Liga giants Barcelona are keen on signing the player and have already submitted a €35 million bid to bring him to the Camp Nou
With Lewandowski’s contract running out in June 2023, Bayern can hold on to the player against his wishes for another year, but risk losing him for free next summer.
The tug of war seems destined to dominate the summer transfer window, outshining some big-money deals.
The Bavarians’ No. 9 is not the only high-profile name out of contract next summer. Some prominent names from the top-five European leagues could depart their current clubs if the middle-ground is not reached in the next few months.
Today, we will take a look at six such players whose current contracts will expire in June 2023:
6. N’Golo Kante – Chelsea
Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has been at Stamford Bridge since his €35.8 million switch from Leicester City in the summer of 2016.
The midfield star has since featured in 259 games across competitions for the Blues, recording 13 goals and 15 assists.
He has helped the club win a Champions League trophy and a Premier League title, among other honors.
Over the last demi-decade, Kante has been synonymous with tenacity, but the French midfield star has been having a hard time keeping himself fit lately.
Thomas Tuchel’s side still look considerably better with the 31-year-old in the team, but we are not sure how long Kante will be able to cope with Premier League’s ferocity.
As per Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea are waiting to negotiate a new deal, but the player also has an admirer in the new Manchester United box Erik ten Hag.
5. Toni Kroos – Real Madrid
Toni Kroos is widely hailed as one of the best central midfielders of this generation. The German has featured in almost every single major game for Real Madrid since joining from Bayern Munich in 2014.
He has played 364 games across competitions for the Whites, recording 25 goals and 83 assists.
He has won a whopping 4 Champions League trophies and 3 La Liga titles, amongst other honors, at the Santiago Bernabeu.
While there is a healthy relationship between the club and the player, Kroos is yet to extend his deal beyond June 2023.
As per Marca (via Football Espana), the player has turned down Madrid’s renewal offer as he does not want to rush into things.
The player supposedly wishes to see how he fares next season before committing for a further year. Kroos wishes to retire at Madrid but does not want to be a burden on the club.
4. Karim Benzema – Real Madrid
Arguably the best player in the world right now, Karim Benzema also sees his contract run out next summer.
The Frenchman has been a phenomenon for Real Madrid since joining them from Lyon 13 years back. He has since scored 323 goals and provided 159 assists (605 games in total), helping them to five Champions League trophies and four La Liga titles, amongst other trophies.
He enjoyed his best-ever campaign in 2021-22, scoring 44 goals and providing 15 assists in 46 games across competitions.
As per El Nacional, Benzema wants to be paid as much as Cristiano Ronaldo in his final years at Madrid.
Los Merengues value their captain greatly, but it will be interesting to see whether or not they agree to meet his rather expensive demands.
3. Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
Three-time Golden Boot winner Mohamed Salah is widely hailed as the best forward in the Premier League.
He has been essential to Liverpool’s Champions League and Premier League wins and is one of the reasons why they have managed to keep pace with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Unfortunately for the Reds, the Egypt international is yet to commit his long-term future to Anfield.
Salah, who’s scored 156 goals and provided 63 assists in 254 games across competitions since 2017, is out of contract in June 2023 and is yet to sign an extension.
As per Fabrizio Romano, the 30-year-old does not want to leave the club this summer but could leave for free next year if the Merseyside giants don’t improve their extension offer.
Letting their star man leave for free might not be the best look for the 19-time English champions.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo – Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo was by far Manchester United’s best player in the 2021-22 season, recording 24 goals across competitions in 39 appearances.
He scored 18 goals in the Premier League, ending the campaign as the division’s third-leading scorer behind Salah (23 goals) and Heung-min Son (23).
Unfortunately, even his brilliance was not enough for the Red Devils to secure a top-four finish, with them ending the campaign in sixth place.
The 37-year-old, who has scored 142 goals and provided 71 assists over two spells at Manchester United, sees his contract expire next summer.
While there is an option for an additional year in his contract, we do not expect him to remain at the club beyond 2023 unless the English giants turn their fortunes around for good.
1. Lionel Messi – Paris Saint-Germain
Leaving his boyhood club Barcelona after 17 senior-team seasons, Lionel Messi joined Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent in the summer of 2021.
His debut season did not turn out as rosy as expected, with him recording only 11 goals and 15 assists in 34 games across competitions.
He won the French league with PSG but failed to inspire PSG to go deep into the competition they desire the most, the UEFA Champions League.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner is set to try his luck again next term, and we believe he could fare considerably better, considering he’d have a proper pre-season with Paris.
There is no probability of him being sold this summer, and if things go well, he could very well extend his stay for an additional year.
His contract, which runs out in 2023, already has a built-in clause that could facilitate an extended stay.