There are still eight weeks left of the 2016/17 Premier League campaign but the futures of a number of the division’s top players are still hanging in the balance with contracts that are set to expire on June 30.
Major League Soccer clubs are constantly looking to strengthen squads, especially with experienced stars from Europe that can be brought in for free to help turn a season on its head at the midway point of the campaign.
That should be no different this summer, so here are three players that could join MLS as free agents in the coming months.
Ibrahimovic has been in incredible form during his first season in English football, firing in 26 goals and helping Manchester United to win the League Cup in February. But as things stand it appears as though this could be the big striker’s only season in England, with LA Galaxy keen on making him the best-paid player in MLS history if he chooses not to extend his United contract past June 30.
United are keen on extending Ibrahimovic’s contract for at least one more season but the chance to enjoy the Hollywood lifestyle in Los Angeles might be enough to tempt him to move to MLS this year.
Current wages: £220,000 per week
Possible MLS destination: LA Galaxy
Zabaleta has been at Manchester City for nine seasons but there are no signs that a new contract will be offered to the 32-year-old. He hasn’t been as important for the Citizens over the last two seasons and has only started 10 of City’s 29 Premier League games under Guardiola this term.
West Ham have been linked with a move for the Argentine international if he does indeed leave City on a free this summer but MLS clubs would surely be monitoring the situation in case Zabaleta decides he wants to move closer to his homeland for the final years of his professional career. MLS clubs have been switching their focus to defensive players over the last few months and Zabaleta would present plenty of teams with an experienced addition if they’re willing to spend the money on his wages.
Current wages: £90,000 per week
Possible MLS destination: Montreal Impact
Lucas is in his tenth season in the English top flight but it could well be his last as Liverpool don’t look set to extend the Brazilian midfielder’s contract. He has been used more in the centre of the Reds’ defence under Jurgen Klopp this season than in midfield, playing just 570 minutes in the Premier League after 29 matches.
He is still only 30 and has a lot to offer any side who picks him up this summer. He appeared close to moving to Turkey last summer but if MLS sides want someone who can break play up in the defensive third, then there will be few better free options than Lucas in the coming months. The New York Red Bulls still have a void to fill following the departure of Dax McCarty in January and with a DP slot available, don’t be shocked to see them make a move for Liverpool’s longest-serving player.