Serie A free agents: Paulo Dybala and Franck Kessié headline top eight players who could hit the summer market

The calciomercato for January has come to and end as clubs are already shifting their focus for the summer. Before working on new signings, there are several key players whose contracts will reach an expiration in June. Usually, there are two options for all parties involved (players, agents and clubs): Sign a new contract or leave and join new club on a free transfer. 

There are big-name players all over the top clubs in Italy who have not yet decided their future and are preparing for the possibility of leaving on a free transfer if they are unable to reach a renewal agreement. Let’s break down the main players who are in this situation, and who might be close extending their contract or likely to leave. As always, you can catch all the Serie A action on Paramount+.

1. Paulo Dybala, Juventus 

This is arguably one of the trickiest situations in the calciomercato landscape because Paulo Dybala actually had a renewal agreement with Juventus in November on a five-year deal for approximately €10 million salary per year, add-ons included. It was all looking favorable for the two sides until the club suddenly changed courses and Dybala to wait until February while tweaking some of the conditions of the new agreement. 

It was decision that was justified in the short term thanks to the January signings of Dušan Vlahović and Denis Zakaria, but could have a fallout in the long term if Dybala walks out this summer. Now the two sides have to see each other and again discuss the conditions of the deal to understand if there is a possibility to stay or not. Dybala has always been very close to Juventus and would like to stay, but he was certainly disappointed by the chain of events that played out, as also demonstrated by the controversial celebration during the match against Udinese last Jan. 15.

2. Franck Kessié, AC Milan 

The Ivorian midfielder has been in contract talks for months with AC Milan, but at the moment the two sides have yet to find an agreement and it does not favorable that we’ll see one in the coming weeks. That’s because the demands of the former Atalanta Bergamo midfielder are very high and the Rossoneri have always showed in the recent years to be extremely careful and somehwat frugal when it comes to contract renewals. It is no coincidence that pivotal role players were let go last summer — Hakan Calhanoglu, who then signed for Inter Milan and Gianluigi Donnarumma, who ended up at Paris Saint-Germain, come to mind. AC Milan will try again to extend Kessié’s deal but won’t accept his requests as it stands, so we’ll need to see efforts on both sides in order to reach a resolution.

3. Marcelo Brozović, Inter Milan 

Marcelo Brozović has decided to stay at Inter Milan and he’s on the verge of agreeing to a new deal until 2025, but the official announcement hasn’t come forth yet. Because of that, in the last few days there has been concern among Nerazzurri fans after some rumors linking him to Barcelona and Tottenham. That said, the Nerazzurri board remain confident in their efforts to announce the new agreement in the coming days after Brozović reassured that he is willing to stay. The Croatian midfielder has become a regular since the days of Antonio Conte and including this season under Simone Inzaghi, who has always made note that he is the only player on the roster who is not replaceable on the market. 

4. Zlatan Ibrahimović, AC Milan 

Zlatan Ibrahimović, one of Serie A most recognizable stars, could technically leave for free this summer. However, this seems like an unlikely scenario for a variety of reasons. First, the ex-LA Galaxy striker has not decided yet on his future, but at this point it seems likely that he will play at least another season. The player and the club are expected to sit down in the next weeks to discuss his contract. AC Milan are completely confident that he will stay put for another season, possibly his “last dance.” 

This is obviously not unlike most cases, because given his stature, the final decision will come down to Ibrahimović, who has not given any sign of wanting to leave the club or hanging up his boots for good. AC Milan fans can therefore be confident that Ibrahimović is likely to extend his contract in the next months.

5. Dries Mertens, Napoli 

The Belgian striker will see his contract expire in the summer and, as often happens at Napoli, contract renewals are never easy. That’s because club owner Aurelio De Laurentiis has a track record of being complicated in negotiations as demonstrated with Lorenzo Insigne’s exit to Toronto FC. Mertens has already reached legendary status at Napoli, topping the all-time top scorer list at the club, but his future is uncertain even if he has desires of staying put. It’ll be interesting to see what happens between now and the end of the season. Will he have the possibility to extend his deal for at least another season, as most of the fans wish? Wait to see. 

6. Ivan Perišić, Inter Milan 

Ivan Perišić could leave Inter Milan in the summer even if he is handed a new offer in the coming weeks. The Croatian winger has proved his worth especially this season, but Inter Milan signed Robin Gosens, who is considered one of the top left backs in Europe, in the January transfer window. Once healthy, Gosens will impact Perišić’s playing time, so he might prefer to look for new opportunities elsewhere. The club will try to keep both players but certainly now after the arrival of Gosens, the renewal of Perišić becomes less of a priority even if an attempt is made in the coming weeks. It will be interesting to see and understand what Perišić actually wants to do after this season.

7. Andrea Belotti, Torino

Torino captain Andrea Belotti is set to leave the club this summer. Negotiations to extend his agreement have hit a wall a while ago and the Italian striker is now expected to leave this summer as club president Urbano Cairo recently confirmed: “We did our best but he has other ideas.” After winning the Euros last summer with Italy, Belotti has practically skipped the entire first part of the current season due to multiple injuries. In the past, clubs such as Zenit St. Petersburg and Atletico Madrid have tried to sign him, but Major League Soccer might be also an option for his future. 

8. Juan Cuadrado, Juventus 

Compared to Paulo Dybala, the Juan Cuadrado is in a less complicated situation. the Juventus winger has publicly stated that he has no problems waiting this month to re-engage in talks with the club to extend his agreement, so there is a lot of confidence on the club side to find a solution as soon as possible. Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri knows he plays a crucial role on his roster and has no intention to let Cuadrado leave for free in the summer. Juventus will need to speed up talks with his agent to find an agreement in the coming weeks. 

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