It’s about this time every year that the rumour mill really kicks into high gear for the upcoming summer transfer window. And as usual, some truly astronomical numbers are starting to be thrown about. The main target seems to be Borussia Dortmund’s hotshot striker Erling Haaland. All the major players of European football are being mentioned and the fee continues to climb. It’s up to something like £150 million as a fee, with Haaland reportedly wanting to be the best paid player in Premier League history if he chooses to move to England. But those transfers with no fee involved could be just as interesting. Chelsea have already seen that this season, with Thiago Silva proving a fine acquisition last summer, after his contract at Paris Saint-Germain had expired.
It was announced earlier this month that Sergio Aguero would leave Manchester City at the end of his current contract. While he is now 32, Aguero is still a fantastic striker so there will certainly be interested parties battling for his signature. He is City’s all-time leading goal scorer, he is fourth on the list of highest Premier League goal-scorers. This is a man who knows how to hit the back of the net on a regular basis. The only concerns for any interested parties would the amount of time he has spent on the sidelines this season (he has not been a regular starter in any competition all season), and his reported wage demands, which are high. Not as high as Haaland’s of course, but very high none the less. Premier League clubs are supposedly interested, which does not surprise me. Chelsea and Tottenham are among the named clubs interested. Again, this does not surprise me. Chelsea will have at least one space available in the squad for a striker come the start of next season, as it is looking more and more likely that Olivier Giroud will not extend his contract at the club. While Erling Haaland is the dream target for the club, they are looking at alternatives, should Dortmund decide not to entertain any bids at all or Haaland chooses another club. And while Timo Werner has been a creative outlet for the team, he has not replicated the goalscoring form we saw in the Bundesliga last season. Chelsea, once again, are looking to sign a genuine goalscorer. That’s something they have lacked since Diego Costa left in the summer of 2017. Aguero would give them that in spades.
Tottenham also have need for another striker in their squad. Whenever Harry Kane is out, they look a much poorer side. They also don’t appear willing to pay the clause in Carlos Vinicius’ loan deal to make that permanent. And a boost for any Premier League side involved are the reports that state Aguero is keen to remain in England so he can look to overtake Andy Cole and move onto the podium in the list of Premier League goalscorers. Both Chelsea and Tottenham will look to make a move for Aguero if they feel it will benefit them. And it probably would. To be able to bring an experienced forward who has long adapted to the league, and who the clubs will probably get at least a couple of years out of if they can keep him fit, especially if there is not a large fee involved.
But Aguero isn’t the only player who may be moving on at the end of his contract. There are a number of players across Europe’s top leagues who may soon be available on a free transfer. Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool, Lucas Vasquez of Real Madrid, even Lionel Messi all have contracts expiring in the summer. And given that they are all within the last six months of their current deals, those players can now negotiate with other clubs and test the waters. While many of these players will be wanting a very big wage packet, there is some serious talent to be found in that pool. While we are fascinated by the huge transfer fees and contract negotiations for the world’s best and brightest players, it might just be rather smarter of the clubs to look at the players available without any fee to another club, especially in these financially straining times.