9 Premier League stars entering final year of contracts including Firmino, Rashford and Zaha

This summer’s transfer window has demonstrated the significance of a Premier League footballer entering the final year of his contract.

Arsenal were able to pick up Gabriel Jesus for £45m while Chelsea may end up paying a little more than that for Raheem Sterling as their former clubs didn’t want to risk losing them for nothing. Liverpool, meanwhile, decided now was the time to cash in on Sadio Mane while ensuring a new deal for Mohamed Salah to ensure they won’t be forced to sell at a loss next summer.

Those players approaching the end of their current deals will be free to speak to potential suitors in January and sort out pre-contract agreements if they so choose. There are a fair few Premier League stars in that position, too, and Mirror Football has taken a closer look at nine of the biggest names.

Wilfried Zaha

Crystal Palace star Zaha was in fine form last season and has continued to impress ahead of the new campaign. The Ivorian international has been among the goals in pre-season, scoring braces against Gillingham and Queens Park Rangers and finding the net in a 4-2 victory over Montpellier.

There has already been plenty of interest, and not just from the Premier League. Jose Mourinho was at Manchester United after Zaha left the club, but reports from Italy suggest the Portuguese manager is interested in bringing the forward to Roma.

Roberto Firmino

Just a few months ago, Liverpool were preparing for their entire title-winning front three to enter the final year of their respective contracts. Sadio Mane has now gone, while Mohamed Salah has extended his stay, but Firmino remains in relative limbo.

Does Firmino need a move? Have your say in the comments section

Liverpool don’t want to lose Roberto Firmino
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Action Images via Reuters)

Jurgen Klopp has played down suggestions the Brazilian could leave this summer, despite reported interest from Juventus. “Bobby is crucial for us, the heart and soul of this team,” the manager said.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo’s future is anything but secure, with the forward telling Man Utd he wants to leave after the club missed out on Champions League football. The lack of potential suitors, however, could yet prove a problem.

The veteran has an option in his deal which could see it extended to three years rather than the initial two. As things stand, he’ll be free to leave or nothing next summer, but there has been talk of a one-year extension accompanied by a season-long loan departure.

N’Golo Kante

N’Golo Kante has been a Chelsea player since 2016
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AFP via Getty Images)

Chelsea have already suffered some painful contract expiry issues this summer, and Kante could hurt them even more. After losing Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen for nothing, one would imagine the Blues will be desperate to keep the former Premier League player of the year.

The French international only played 26 times in the league last season – his lowest total since coming to England in 2015. Still, with Kante turning 32 in 2023, there’s an argument he can offer more value to the club by staying than by being sold and replaced.

Youri Tielemans

Tielemans’ contract situation has prompted plenty of summer speculation, with Arsenal and Tottenham among the interested parties. He’s still a Leicester player at the time of writing, though, and Brendan Rodgers is well aware of his value to the team.

Youri Tielemans has plenty of potential suitors
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Getty Images)

With a mid-season World Cup, Tielemans is one of a number of players who could impress in Qatar and then return to a club contract with just months remaining. If he impresses for Belgium, there’s likely to be plenty of appetite for a mid-season move – especially if Leicester fall short of a top-four push again.

Marcus Rashford

Rashford’s difficult 2021-22 season prompted suggestions he might leave Old Trafford. However, after being given a chance to impress new manager Erik ten Hag, things are looking more positive for the homegrown forward.

Manchester United still have an option to extend the England forward’s deal by a further year. Seeing as he’s still just 24, a strong start to the season could prompt them to remove any doubt around his contract situation before the turn of the year.

Marcus Rashford has been a Man Utd player for his whole career
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via REUTERS)

Jorginho

Like his teammate Kante, Jorginho is approaching a stick-or-twist moment in his Chelsea career. There have been ups and downs for the Italian international since his big-money move from Napoli back in 2018, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him return to Serie A.

One consideration, however, is the arrival of Kalidou Koulibaly in west London. The pair were teammates during a great period at Stadio San Paolo, and a revival of that connection might help Jorginho get back to his best.

Luke Shaw

Man Utd’s changes in the dugout, while good for some, may be problematic for others. Shaw enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career in 2020-21, but – after an injury-hit campaign last summer – he now has new signing Tyrell Malacia to compete with.

Luke Shaw will be keen to impress Erik ten Hag this term
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Getty Images)

At his best, the England international can be one of the most impressive left-backs in the league. The coming months will present a chance for him to decide whether that’s something he wants to showcase away from Old Trafford, though the club has an option to extend his deal until 2024.

Ilkay Gundogan

The man who won Manchester City the Premier League last season might want to begin preparing for life elsewhere. Indeed, at the end of May he refused to commit his long-term future to City despite sealing the final-day comeback against Aston Villa.

“We will sit down together in due course and exchange our ideas and plans, and then we will see what comes out of it,” Pep Guardiola’s first City signing told Kicker (via the Manchester Evening News ). “The question is whether and when I want to do something new again.”

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