With January fast approaching, there could be a lot more action than usual in the mid-season window, mainly due to contract situations with so many players in the Premier League. With player power beginning to surface around the English top flight, players are now controlling the contract situations and the majority of the agents are always on the lookout for new clubs, and more money.
A staggering 113 players who were registered for Premier League football are out of contract at the end of this season resulting in many clubs looking to either move them on in the summer or risk making a loss in May. There will be plenty of chances to earn a new contract for the future Bosman players, but having now let their contracts run down to just over six months remaining, perhaps the clubs are eager to get rid of them.
The list of out-of-contract players is not just packed with squad players and bit-part first team members, but star internationals that have brought a lot to the Premier League in the past five years or so. Names such as Didier Drogba, Dimitar Berbatov and Ledley King head the list that is a scattered with house-hold names that may suggest a change in the tide of attitudes from Premier League clubs that are happy to lose their experienced heads when their contracts expire in favour of young players breaking through.
At the end of last season there was not a huge rush to snap up free signings from the Premier League as there was very little to choose from. Hargreaves, Ba and McFadden were about as glamorous as it got last May but this year a team could be built solely from free signings that could well finish in the top half of the league. A club could spend their whole transfer budget on wages for these players and have a better side than most in the Premier League next season. Some clubs however may struggle to recover from losing players for free next summer and need to either replace them or keep them to have any chance of being competitive in a year’s time.
Bolton Wanderers are a team that could particularly struggle, with an astonishing 13 players coming to the end of their contracts next summer, January could be a time to either sell them or offer them a new deal otherwise there could be a major issue at the Reebok. With the side struggling this season in the Premier League, players may not be eager to commit themselves to the club with the possibility of Championship football next season.
Kevin Davies, Gary Cahill and Jussi Jaaskelainen plus 10 others will all have big decisions to make over the next few months that could be a massive period of Bolton’s modern day history. It is surely a problem that many clubs must be tackling throughout the season. Of course some of the 113 players will sign new deals at their clubs before the end of the season, lying to bed all speculation surrounding them, however some will also leave in January, with the clubs looking to get at least a small amount of money for their players rather than lose out in May.
Here is a list of some selected players that are out of contract next summer, can you make your Bosman XI:
And of course…. Emile Heskey!