After a season ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, many top football clubs could see some of their most prized assets leave as free agents next summer, as their contracts run out at the end of the current campaign.
As if the fixture congestion and financial ramifications brought about by the pandemic were not enough, clubs also need to keep an eye out for players who are in the final year of their contracts, especially the ones who are first-team regulars.
Five big-name players who could leave their clubs as free agents next summer
A bevy of fine players are set to leave their clubs as free agents next summer. On that note, let's take a look at five of the biggest names in this regard:
#5 Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil has been frozen out of the Arsenal squad since March. While it's true that the 32-year-old German playmaker is arguably past his prime, he still has a few years of top-level football left in him.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup winner, for all his perceived deficiencies - inability to adapt and a conspicuous lack of pace - is still capable of conjuring up killer passes in the attacking third, something Arsenal have sorely lacked this season.
Ozil's contract at Arsenal runs out in the summer, but the player is unlikely to be drafted into the Gunners' Premier League or Europa League squads in January.
Despite the player not playing a competitive game for well over six months, a plethora of clubs are interested in Ozil's services.
However, it remains to be seen if the German intends to trade a pay-cut for some game-time or warm the Arsenal bench before leaving as a free agent in the summer.
#4 Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero is undoubtedly one of the finest players to have graced the Premier League.
In a near decade-long stint at Manchester City, the Argentine has scored goals and etched records galore in the competition. However, injuries have begun to catch up with the versatile striker, who has not had much game-time this season.
The 32-year-old is widely expected to see out his contract at City, which runs out this summer. However, the player has not yet agreed a contract extension with the club and could walk out as a free agent.