Key Arsenal duo among 20 best footballers out of contract in 2024

Mikel Arteta hugs Bukayo Saka after a win Credit: Alamy
Mikel Arteta hugs Bukayo Saka after a win Credit: Alamy

Two of Arsenal’s best players have contract renewals on their mind as well as a title charge. Spurs’ biggest asset and a Man Utd star are also approaching the final year of their deals.

Here are the most valuable players – according to Transfermarkt – who are entering the last 18 months on their contracts…


1) Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)
Real Madrid don’t seem to be panicking about Vinicius Jr’s contract. Both parties spoke about a renewal through much of 2022 and it seems very close, with some summer reports suggesting it was done. But the deal remains unsigned, even if it is just a matter of time.


2) Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
If Arsenal didn’t have a title to chase, they might be expending more of their energy on Saka’s renewal. Manchester City are certainly hoping it slips their minds, though the Gunners are negotiating from a much stronger position now then they were even six months ago when Mikel Arteta said this: “I am very confident that we as a club and Bukayo, his family, his agent, everybody, we are very much aligned in what we want to achieve. And now it is about putting it on a piece of paper.”


3) Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Across north London, Spurs might be feeling slightly more uneasy about Kane’s contractual situation. Manchester United are certainly monitoring developments though it seems Kane’s party is open to renewing the six-year deal he was daft enough to sign in 2018.


4) Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
The United striker has perfectly timed his return to form, health and happiness just as the club looks to sit down and discuss a renewal with their academy graduate. There is little panic at Old Trafford, but the clamour from suitors will only grow the longer a renewal remains unsigned.


5) Rafael Leao (AC Milan)
Milan have been trying to tempt Leao into putting pen to paper on new terms but it seems the Portugal striker is determined to explore his options. Among them are Manchester City and Chelsea.


6) Declan Rice (West Ham)
The Hammers aren’t fretting yet since they have the option to extend Rice’s current deal for another 12 months. Still, that hasn’t stopped them from trying to convince the England midfielder to recommit, but Rice rejected the offer of the most lucrative contract in the club’s history.


7) Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain)
The Brazil defender said in January that talks with PSG ‘are progressing well’ with only the length of deal on offer said to be the sticking point. Marquinhos wants another three years on his contract, which isn’t unreasonable since he is still only 28. Admit it, you thought he was older…


8) Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Now Todd Boehly has signed all the players, the Chelsea owner will have to give Mount some attention before he wades into the summer market. Mount will have noted the looooooong contracts being dished out to his new team-mates and he will fancy a bit of that. Or a move to Liverpool.


9) Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio)
The Serbia star has been linked with a Lazio exit since before he signed his current deal in 2018. But Milinkovic-Savic has apparently informed the Rome club that he has no intention of renewing again, with some reports suggesting he’s already lined up a move to Juventus. Though those surfaced before Juve were punished for some accounting shenanigans. The latest link is with Liverpool.


10) Ousmane Dembélé (Barcelona)
It was only last summer that Dembele finally signed his contract at Barca after a long, drawn-out and sometimes bitter process that seemed certain to result in the winger leaving as a free agent. But all parties kicked the can down the road for two years and already clubs are queueing up while Barca seek again to avoid losing Dembele for nothing.

Read more: The 20 best footballers out of contract in July 2023 and available as free transfers



11) James Maddison (Leicester)
Leicester will be eager to avoid a repeat of their Youri Tielemans problem, with the Belgian set to walk away for nothing in the summer. If they hope to make a few quid on Maddison, it seems he will be off before next season too, with Newcastle most heavily linked.


12) Alessandro Bastoni (Inter Milan)
Likewise, Inter will be keen to tie up Bastoni having lost the battle to keep Milan Skriniar beyond the summer. PSG will take the Slovakia star in the summer, by which time Inter hope to have Bastoni – and Hakan Calhanoglu – tied to new terms.


13) William Saliba (Arsenal)
“I am so happy here,” said Saliba in January. Just not happy enough yet with what Arsenal are offering, with reports suggesting he turned down their latest proposal.


14) Lucas Hernández (Bayern Munich)
The France defender is currently sidelined with an ACL injury sustained at the World Cup but his lay-off has given Hernandez and Bayern time to discuss a renewal, which is reportedly agreed and waiting for a signature.


15) Pau Torres (Villarreal)
The Spain centre-back has been linked with a Premier League move for at least the last two years, in which time Tottenham agreed a fee with Villarreal. But Torres opted to stay with his boyhood club for their Champions League adventure. With that ticked off and only a year remaining on his deal, expect to hear a lot of Torres tittle-tattle between now and the summer.


16) Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea)
Immediately after the transfer window closed, Chelsea’s attention has briefly turned to trimming their squad before they go big on strengthening it again. Kovacic’s name was mentioned in the list of players the Blues are open to offers for as Todd Boehly reserves his massive contracts for new arrivals.


17) Piotr Zielinski (Napoli)
The Poland star looked set to leave Napoli at one point last summer but he has since become a key component in their title push and the runaway Serie A leaders are said to be keen to offer a two-year extension.


18) Ruben Neves (Wolves)
Plenty of clubs – Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool – have been interested in Neves but never have any of them made a decisive move for the Portugal midfielder. The fact he’ll be a year from free-agency might change that in the summer, with reports last month suggesting that Wolves were resigned to losing the 25-year-old.


19) Presnel Kimpembe (PSG)
A horrendous Achilles injury could put Kimpembe out of action for the majority of 2023 so the club will be in no rush to commit to a new contract.


20) Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig)
RB Leipzig boss Max Eberl has “a good feeling” about his contract talks with Dani Olmo, but the player himself has made it clear he would like a return to Spain.

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