Messi, Aubameyang, Aguero... Players whose contracts are about to end in 2021

There are a number of top-quality players that could potentially be available on a free transfer next summer, with their situations resting on whether or not their current club will offer them a contract renewal or look for a quick sale and get an injection of money.

Lionel Messi, David Alaba, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sergio Aguero, Thiago Alcantara, Memphis Depay and James Rodriguez are among the names that only have a year left on their current contacts, but what will happen come this time next year?

With the current economic climate taking a hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, teams will no doubt be listening to offers and potentially have to cash in on some of their prized assets.

Renewals are the priority

There are difficult times ahead, but teams like Barcelona, AC Milan and Arsenal will be keen to tie down their top players by making them big-money renewal offers.

Messi seems rooted in Catalonia, despite the fact that the Blaugrana haven't been firing on all cylinders in recent year, and everything indicates that the Argentine will remain at Barcelona.

It's the same situation for Gianluigi Donnarumma, with the directors at AC Milan knowing that they have a goalkeeper for a decade, while the player himself is comfortable in Lombardy.

However, with the case of Aubameyang at Arsenal, it's a bit different. The 31-year-old moved to London in the search of silverware and new challenges, yet the Gunners haven't lived up to his expectations.

Despite this, last December saw the arrival of highly-rated coach Mikel Arteta, who helped steer Arsenal to an FA Cup triumph over Chelsea and this may have changed helped change the striker's mind about staying in north London.

Other Premier League players that are close to renewing their contracts are Georginio Wijnaldum, a key part of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side, and Sergio Aguero, who is undoubtedly Manchester City's best striker.

Negotiations that have broken down

It's a double-edged sword for both player and club, especially when the player doesn't want to renew and still has a year left on their contract.

In this case, the club has the upper hand and the player is at the mercy of the club for a year, possibly being denied a place in the starting line-up or being sold as quickly as possible to any club.

Players that are in this situation currently are Thiago Alcantara at Bayern Munich and Hakan Calhanoglu at AC Milan, two midfielders with great pedigree in the game who have rejected contract renewals with their clubs.

On the other hand, is the curious case of James Rodriguez. The Colombian has been publicly ousted by Zinedine Zidane, who is keen to recover part of the 80 million euro fee that was spent on him back in 2014.

Unfortunately, with just a year left on his contract and clubs' finances impacted by the coronavirus crisis, it is not the best time to do business, so the playmaker will likely part ways with Real Madrid for a cut-price fee.

Another player in a similar position is Julian Draxler as he is no longer wanted by Thomas Tuchel or Paris Saint-Germain, who are currently listening to offers for the German midfielder and could allow him to leave for a bargain.

Uncertain futures

Older players with big salaries often find themselves with an uncertain future, but it can also happen to younger players too if they play for a selling club.

A prime example of this is Diego Costa for Atletico Madrid and Luis Suarez for Barcelona, who have had great pasts with their club but may not be in the best of form at the moment, so their respective clubs will have to decide between sentimental or economic reasons.

On the other hand, someone like Memphis Depay at Lyon, a selling club nowadays, may be allowed to depart in order to keep the club's finances in check and thus allow them to keep progressing.

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