For a professional footballer there is probably no more uncertain time than when your contract is rolling towards its end. This year things are up in the air more than usual with the COVID-19 outbreak throwing a colossal spanner in the works.
The recent word suggests a deal will be struck that forces those with a contract end date of June 2020 to keep playing until the season is finished but who are the stars that could be impacted?
Here we look at five soon to be free agents and what the future might hold in store.
Top 5 players on the move this Summer
5 – Dries Mertens
Mertens might be 32 years old now but you don’t lose quality and that is something the Belgian has in abundance. Mertens came through at Genk in his homeland before a move into Holland saw his profile elevate with goals galore at – predominantly – PSV.
Napoli shelled out £8.5m in 2013 to bring the attacker to Italy and it proved a bargain as Mertens has been involved in 194 goals in his time in Serie A – 121 goals and 73 assists.
A total of 18 of those involvements (12 goals, 6 assists) coming this season at a rate of one every 100 minutes.
English trio Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have been linked but Antonio Conte wants him at Inter and a stay in Italy now seems likely.
4 – Edinson Cavani
If an experienced, goal-scoring forward is heading out of Naples then who better to step in from the free agent merry go round than Napoli’s former striker and now PSG man Cavani?
The long-haired Uruguayan was close to leaving Paris in January but a deal couldn’t be done and Napoli now looks to be the front runners for his signature despite strong interest from South American sides Boca Juniors and Peñarol.
Cavani doesn’t come without his issues though – he and PSG teammate Neymar have butted heads a few times in recent memory – but there is a hole in Gennaro Gattuso’s squad with Mertens going so why not fill it with a guarantee of goals, as evidenced by Cavani’s 341 in 556 throughout his career.
3 – Jan Vertonghen
Vertonghen is perhaps the player whose decision could be influenced the most by the coronavirus delay. The experienced Belgian central defender or left-back had looked all set to leave Tottenham in the Summer.
The arrival of Jose Mourinho as manager has, at the very least, forced a question mark into his mind. Spurs had looked set to miss out on the Champions League spots as injuries hit their squad in key areas and that would have perhaps been the final nail in the coffin for Vertonghen.
A delayed end to the campaign will likely see Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min back fit and they could easily fire Tottenham to a top-four finish, which might be the bait that hooks Vertonghen into staying.
2 – Layun Kurzawa
When Kurzawa arrived at PSG from Monaco back in 2015 he was tipped for a big future but the move has never worked out for the French international full back.
This season he’s only played for 855 minutes in Ligue 1 with some big questions being asked over his form. At 27 though, Kurzawa has plenty of miles left in the tank and there are a few big clubs confident they can get him firing again.
Mikel Arteta is keen to bring him to London but the consensus on the continent is that they’ll be gazumped by one of either Barcelona or Juventus with the player having to weigh up what is more important – trophies or playing regularly.
1 – David Silva
Silva is, to this day, is one of the best technical footballers to grace the pitch each week but at 34 the time has come for the Spanish wizard to call time on his hugely successful spell with Manchester City. In Phil Foden, Pep Guardiola believes he has a ready-made replacement in his squad but away from the Etihad there are clubs everywhere crying out for such a genius player.
That said, his time in Europe would appear to be over with Qatar and Japan – where fellow Spaniard Andres Iniesta spent his twilight years – possible destinations; the most likely and certainly the most mouth-watering prospect muted though is a move to Inter Miami where he would become the first mega signing for David Beckham’s new franchise.
There you have it, a look at five names that will be center of the news once the pandemic that is coronavirus blows over.