The final year of a player’s contract is often a hugely uncertain period for both himself and the club. Moves will usually be made to try and negotiate extensions, providing the club want to maintain the player’s services.
However if one can’t be reached, then pushing through a sale becomes a priority in order to avoid losing that asset for nothing 12 months later. And it’s at this moment when rivals can often profit and potentially land targets for a reduced fee.
Sadio Mane’s recent move to Bayern Munich is a prime example of this situation. The Senegal star scored 23 goals for Liverpool last season and is widely regarded as one of the best forward players in Europe. However, the German champions landed him for a fee of just £35million, way below his market value.
The 30-year-old had just one year remanding on his Liverpool contract though, meaning the Reds were forced to accept such an offer or risk losing him for nothing next summer.
There are plenty of other star players who are entering the final year of their current contracts, and given Manchester United need to a dd reinforcements across a number of positions this summer, they could potentially profit. Therefore Mirror Football has highlighted three players they could sign for cheap ahead of the new season.
Kalidou Koulibaly – Napoli
At one stage, Koulibaly was considered to be one of the best central defenders in the world. Although it’s now accepted the likes of Virgil van Dijk have surpassed the 31-year-old, he’s still a top defender that’d have the potential to have a transformational impact on United’s leaky defence next season.
He often dominates attackers both in the air and on the floor, while also being calm and composed in possession. In his prime, there was talk of fees in excess of £60m to secure his signature, but now with just 12 months left on his current Napoli deal, United could land him for half that.
Wilfried Zaha – Crystal Palace
The former United player has tried on several occasions to push through a move away from Crystal Palace, though for different reasons the same never materialised.
He’s still one of the Premier League ’s best attackers and finished last season having scored 14 Premier League goals. He’s now hit double figures in three of his last four seasons, which is impressive given he’s been playing for a Palace side that hasn’t always been the most fluid from an attacking point of view.
He turns 30 in November, meaning he wouldn’t be worthy of a heavy investment at this stage of his career. However, with United’s need for more quality attackers. He’d definitely be an upgrade on what they have if they could land him for cheap this summer. He may also relish the challenge of what could have been.
Marco Asensio – Real Madrid
Another attacker who should be firmly on United’s radar is Real Madrid ’s Asensio. Last season he scored 12 goals while registering a further two assists. While that looks a decent if unremarkable return at first glance, it’s worth noting that the 26-year-old wasn’t a regular for Carlo Ancelotti.
In fact, if we break those combined contributions down into a per 90 average, then it works out at 0.55, which is pretty impressive, indicating he scored or assisted at a rate of more than one in every two games.
Unlike others mentioned, Asensio boasts being at the beginning of his peak years. It might still take around £30m to land him, however the same would represent a worthwhile investment based on his age and current ability.