The Champions League is wrapping up this week (on Paramount+) and there isn’t much time left before 2021 is over, and consequently we’re in an important moment in the world of the transfer market. Starting from January, all players with contracts expiring next June will be allowed to sign with other clubs. This could mean that big deals are on the horizon as some of soccer’s most important stars look to fulfill dream moves. Let’s look at the situations of the five biggest potential free agents?
1. Kylian Mbappé, PSG
The Paris Saint-Germain star remains Real Madrid’s biggest wish. Club president Florentino Perez wants Mbappé at all costs. He already proved it last summer and hasn’t changed his mind. Real will continue to make a strong push for Mbappé as a signing in June 2022 when he’s a free agent, but it’s a work in progress. Perez knows very well that PSG will try in every way to change Mbappé’s mind, likely with a very big contract renewal offer of their own. Those attempts will continue until the end of May. Everything remains undecided, and Real Madrid remain prepared to pursue Mbappé to the fullest. Mbappé is their only, big priority, and the French player is still understood to be attracted by Real Madrid project.
2. Ousmane Dembélé, Barcelona
Barca president Joan Laporta has been working for months on convincing the Frenchman to sign a new contract. The negotiations have actually been going on for more than a year, and now that Xavi is back with the club as manager, he is also trying to convince Dembélé to stay. There is still no economic agreement, but club sources remain optimistic and willing to keep Dembélé at any cost. Several calls have come from the Premier League to his agent. Barcelona remain hopeful that when sometime in December, when Dembélé is expected to decide on his future, he will choose to remain with the Catalan club.
3. Paulo Dybala, Juventus
Club and player are at the final stages of the negotiations over Dybala’s new contract with Juventus. Paulo’s signing will soon arrive until June 2026, for a salary that will reach €10 million net per season. Dybala has received different approaches but has always shown that he is very attached to Juventus. Announcements are expected in the coming weeks, when there will also be signatures on the paper works after the verbal agreement. All signs point to Dybala staying in Serie A for years to come (you can catch every Serie A match on Paramount+).
4. Paul Pogba, Manchester United
Manchester United’s managerial change will make Pogba take extra time to decide his future. A final decision should be expected in a few days or weeks, Pogba’s choice, when he eventually makes it, will involve many factors, from personal to economic. Manchester United have had a renewal proposal on the table since July, but so far there is still no agreement, nor a decision by Pogba one way or the other. The performance with Ralf Rangnick in these months will be an important indicator.
5. Antonio Rüdiger, Chelsea
The situation remains stuck. The German defender would be happy to stay at Chelsea as he loves the club and the city, and his relationship with Thomas Tuchel is also excellent. But Rüdiger wants an economic proposal that matches his extraordinary performances, and so far Chelsea’s offer has not fully convinced him. If the club offers him what he wants, Rüdiger will be open to sign the renewal, otherwise Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and FC Bayern are already interested.
|Full name||Paul Labile Pogba|
|Date of birth||15 March 1993|
|Place of birth||Lagny-sur-Marne, France|
|Height||1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:33, 24 October 2021 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 10 October 2021
Paul Labile Pogba (born 15 March 1993) is a French professional footballer who plays for Premier League club Manchester United and the France national team. He operates primarily as a central midfielder, but can also be deployed as a left winger, attacking midfielder, defensive midfielder and deep-lying playmaker.
Born in Lagny-sur-Marne, Pogba joined the youth team of Ligue 1 side Le Havre in 2007, before a protracted transfer brought him to Manchester United two years later. After beginning his senior career with Manchester United two years later, limited appearances persuaded him to depart to join Italian side Juventus on a free transfer in 2012, where he helped the club to four consecutive Serie A titles, as well as two Coppa Italia and two Supercoppa Italiana titles. During his time in Italy, Pogba further established himself as one of the most promising young players in the world and received the Golden Boy award in 2013, followed by the Bravo Award in 2014. In 2016, Pogba was named to the 2015 UEFA Team of the Year, as well as the 2015 FIFA FIFPro World XI, after helping Juventus to the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final, their first in 12 years.
Pogba’s performances at Juventus led to him returning to Manchester United in 2016 for a then-world record transfer fee of €105 million (£89.3 million). The fee was the highest paid by an English club at the time. In his first season back, he won the League Cup and the Europa League. In the 2018–19 season, he was named in the PFA Team of the Year.
Internationally, Pogba captained France to victory at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup and took home the award for the Best Player for his performances during the tournament. He made his debut for the senior team a year later and featured prominently at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where he was awarded the Best Young Player Award for his performances. He later represented his nation at UEFA Euro 2016 on home soil, where he finished as a runner-up, before winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup, scoring in the final.
Casemiro: Mbappe is compatible with anyone in the world, including Vinicius
He also discussed Vinicius and Benzema
The Paris Saint-Germain forward is able to begin negotiating with other clubs from January 1 – 26 days’ time – and the expectation is that he make the move to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, but Casemiro isn’t worried about his arrival having an impact on Vinicius Junior.
“He’s not our player. It’s difficult to talk about someone who isn’t here,” Casemiro said during Monday’s pre-match press conference.
“He’s a great player and compatible with anyone in the world, including Vini. I like football and everyone who likes football knows that Mbappe is a great player.”
Real Madrid will be without Karim Benzema for the Inter match, but Casemiro pointed to the impact that Luka Jovic had off the bench against Real Sociedad last weekend, as he recorded a goal and an assist in the 2-0 win.
“His absence is that of the best No.9 in the world, and one of the best players in the world,” he noted.
“But we have Jovic and Mariano [Diaz]. Luka had a great game against La Real, and it wasn’t easy. He plays very little because he has the best No.9 in the world in front of him.”
Vinicius Junior has made a big jump this season, with his compatriot pointing to one area of his game that has stood out in particular.
“It’s a blessing to have him playing like this,” Casemiro commented.
“The difference this year is that without playing well he’s been top class, as he was against Sevilla. Now he makes the difference in games without playing well, something that not everyone does.
“It’s difficult to say if he’s the most decisive player, because here there’s Karim [Benzema], [Thibaut] Courtois, [Toni] Kroos… But he is at a very important moment in his career. He is very important for us.
“It’s difficult to compare him with players from other leagues, who we don’t see every day. I see Vini every day.
“I don’t know if he is the best Brazilian today. We have a lot of top players: Gabriel Jesus, [Roberto] Firmino, Neymar… but he is in the top three.
“I’m very happy for him. He’s a guy who suffered a lot. We have a great player for 10 or 15 years.”
|Full name||Kylian Mbappé Lottin|
|Date of birth||20 December 1998|
|Place of birth||Paris, France|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|2017–2018||→ Paris Saint-Germain (loan)||27||(13)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:38, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 17:15, 17 November 2021 (UTC)
Mbappé began his senior career with Ligue 1 club Monaco, making his professional debut in 2015, aged 16. With them, he won a Ligue 1 title, Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year, and the Golden Boy award. In 2017, he signed for league rivals Paris Saint-Germain on an initial loan, which was made permanent in 2018 in a transfer worth €180 million plus add ons, making him both the second-most expensive player and most expensive teenager. There, Mbappé has won three Ligue 1 titles, three Coupe de France titles, was named Ligue 1 Player of the Year twice, and has finished as Ligue 1 top scorer for three consecutive seasons. He is also the third-highest goalscorer in the club’s history.
At international level, Mbappé made his senior debut for France in 2017, at age 18. At the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Mbappé became the youngest French player to score at a World Cup, and became the second teenager, after Pelé, to score in a World Cup Final. He finished as the joint second-highest goalscorer as France won the tournament, and he received the Best Young Player and French Player of the Year awards for his performances.