Three Premier League players that could move to MLS as free agents this summer

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.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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.

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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

Pablo Zabaleta

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 Leiva

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.

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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.

Current wages: £80,000 per week
Possible MLS destination: New York Red Bulls
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Revealed: Guus Hiddink’s plans for NYRB star nearing Chelsea move

Chelsea are on the verge of signing USMNT defender Matt Miazga from New York Red Bulls and interim manager Guus Hiddink has revealed his plans for the promising young star.

The fee for the 20 year old is believed to be in the region of £3.5 million and the Red Bulls academy product is known to be a ball-playing defender.

Hiddink hinted that Miazga will be a player Chelsea will look to use later on down the line.

“We are not rushing but he will be one of the squad members for the future.”

Chelsea are well-known for bringing in young and upcoming stars and loaning them out, with no less than 29 players currently loaned out from their parent club.

New York's Matt Miazga wins a header in the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

New York’s Matt Miazga wins a header in the MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg: New York Red Bulls vs. DC United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, USA, on Nov. 8, 2015. Photo: Ashley Marshall/MLSGB.com

Although there are no such reports that Miazga will be available to other clubs at this stage, it is clear he has some way to go before he is to feature for the first team. Hiddink says he will assess the centre-back but is already aware of his capabilities.

“He is a young guy stepping up to the national team and we always have such players here. You can then see what they are capable of.”

The Blues are constantly rumoured to be looking for a long-term replacement for captain John Terry and it’s evident they are looking for a defender who can play out from the back.

Will Miazga be a hit with Chelsea? Should he be loaned out in English football for more experience?

Chelsea not looking to sign Didier Drogba for a third time

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has ruled out any chance of resigning Didier Drogba to help his side improve in the new year.

The Chelsea legend, who is the fourth highest goalscorer in their history, has been unplayable since joining Montreal Impact in MLS. He has scored 12 in 12, including Montreal’s third in their 3-0 playoff win last night.

Didier Drogba Chelsea Getty

Mourinho, speaking at today’s press conference, was posed the question of another Drogba return but ruled out the possibility.

“Do you want me to compare the Premier League with MLS?

“Didier will always offer something to a club and the group that loves him and that he loves. No doubt about it. But will I bring him back? No.”

The Ivorian goal-machine will be fully focused as he hopes to lead his side through the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday evening as they face Columbus Crew in the first leg.

Chelsea face Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime in what is a huge game for the club, and in particular, Jose Mourinho.

Should Chelsea consider bring Didier Drogba back to the club again?

Former Sounders star in trouble as Spurs linked with £3.5m defender

Former Seattle Sounders star, DeAndre Yedlin, could find himself further down the pecking order at Tottenham Hotspur as they are interested in Burnley‘s Kieran Trippier, according to the Telegraph.

Yedlin, who linked up with Spurs in January 2015, signed a four-year deal in August 2014, and has made just one Premier League appearance. The 21-year-old speedster could see his playing time further limited if Spurs sign Trippier.

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The US international can be used as a winger, but his preferred and arguably best position is at right-back. With Spurs looking to add Trippier to their squad, Yedlin would be one of four right-back options at the club and he has next to no Premier League experience.

At this moment in time a loan away from Spurs could be a good move for Yedlin as his playing time looks as if it will be limited. If he can gain some Premier League experience he has a chance of showing why Spurs wanted to bring him to the club.

Yedlin will hope to impress Pochettino in Spurs’ pre-season and he will more than likely be called up for the US Men’s National Team squad for the upcoming Gold Cup.

What does Spurs’ interest in Trippier mean for DeAndre Yedlin?

STATS: How do Liverpool and Chelsea legends compare to current MLS stars?

Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard and Chelsea hero Frank Lampard have completed their Premier League seasons and will make the move to Major League Soccer at the beginning of July, but how do they compare to the current MLS playmakers?

Having made the move prior to the current MLS season, Sebastian Giovinco and Kaka have hit the ground running.

Lampard and Gerrard have been superb in the Premier League over the years but making the move to MLS is not as easy as it seems. So how do they compare?

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Using the Squawka Comparison matrix, we found the following:

Stats (Per 90 Mins) Benny Feilhaber (MLS 2015) Kaka (MLS 2015) Sebastian Giovinco (MLS 2015) Frank Lampard (Premier League 14/15) Steven Gerrard (Premier League 14/15)
Goals Scored 0.25 0.42 0.51 0.54 0.36
Assists 0.42 0.17 0.41 0.09 0.04
Chances Created 2.68 1.93 2.26 1.35 2.09
Key Passes 2.26 1.76 1.85 1.26 2.05
Pass Completion 79% 83% 81% 85% 85%

It’s hard to compare between these five playmakers as they are playing in separate leagues, but it’s important to see that at current form, the MLS stars hold their own and the onus is on Lampard and Gerrard to hit the ground running.

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The important statistic we found is the goals scored-per-90 minutes – Lampard’s and Gerrard’s goal production will be expected to improve as they are both likely to play in a more advanced role for New York City and LA Galaxy respectively.

Will Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard be effective in Major League Soccer? And who will do better once they arrive?

Swansea City target claims he is ready for Premier League move

FC Twente striker Luc Castaignos has stated his intentions to leave the club this summer, with cash-strapped Twente ready to let their star leave on the cheap.

The former Inter Milan striker was subject to a £6.5 million bid last summer from Swansea but the club eventually pulled out, according to the Mirror.

Castaignos has managed ten goals this season in 29 appearances for Twente and is reported to be a target for Swansea once again.

After losing Wilfried Bony in January to Manchester City, the Swans are short up front and Castaignos could fill the void left by the Ivorian and to offer backup to French striker Bafetimbi Gomis.

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Speaking to the Dutch media, Castaignos stated: “I want to go abroad, preferably to a nice top performer in England or Germany so I can get used to the competition.

“I know enough about myself to know I am not ready for the real top yet.”

With Twente ready to sell it may be possible for Swansea to get their man on the cheap, with a transfer fee potentially falling under the £6.5 million fee that was accepted last year.

Is Luc Castaignos the man to replace Wilfried Bony at Swansea City?

Spurs make contact with PSG over World Cup finalist

Tottenham Hotspur have made contact with Paris Saint Germain over a potential move for World Cup finalist Ezequiel Lavezzi according to talkSPORT.

Lavezzi could make way for the potential signing of Angel Di Maria from Manchester United, who has been on PSG’s radar for the last couple of years.

Spurs head coach, Mauricio Pochettino, is expected to add to his forward line and Lavezzi is an ideal serviceman for any striker.

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The Argentine winger has netted nine times this season in 45 appearances and his experience could play a pivotal role to help Spurs break back into the Champions League for the first time since 2011.

Lavezzi could come in as a cheap option as he has just one year remaining on his current contract. Transfermarkt.co.uk value the winger at £14 million.

The 30 year old hasn’t quite hit the high levels which earned him a move from Napoli to PSG in 2012 and it seems now would be a good time for him to move on.

Will Spurs sign Lavezzi and do they need him?

Liverpool to make SHOCK move for Everton youngster – report

Liverpool are lining up a surprise move for Everton left-back Luke Garbutt this summer, according to talkSPORT.

The 21-year-old Englishman is out of contract in a matter of weeks and with talks stalling over a new deal to keep him at Goodison Park, the Reds are ready to pounce, with Bournemouth also interested.

Garbutt has been on the Everton bench in the Premier League 20 times this season and has made just four appearances in the top flight.

But he is highly regarded by the Toffees and a move to Liverpool would certainly cause a stir on Merseyside.

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Roberto Martinez came under pressure after Everton’s game at West Ham on Saturday after he decided to play Brendan Galloway at left-back ahead of Garbutt, with Leighton Baines out injured.

Martinez said that decision was made just 90 minutes before kickoff and was based solely on footballing reasons, but it is looking increasingly likely that Garbutt will move on after six years with Everton.

Liverpool are expected to make numerous changes to their squad this season, and signing Garbutt on a free could be one of their early moves.

Would Luke Garbutt be a good signing for Liverpool? How important is he to Everton?

Louis Van Gaal suggests United fans will have to wait for £25m man to shine

Manchester United manager, Louis Van Gaal, has suggested that the Old Trafford faithful will have to wait for new signing, Memphis Depay to shine.

The highly-rated winger is tipped to become one of the best after yet another impressive season with PSV Eindhoven but Van Gaal, reported by the Express, expects his development to take time.

“I worked with Memphis during last summer’s World Cup with the Netherlands and he has great potential.

“The plan is to help him develop as a player, but we must all be patient. The Premier League is very different from any other league and it will take time for him to fully adapt to the pace and unforgiving nature of football in this country.”

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Depay has netted an impressive 22 goals in 30 Eredivisie appearances this season and his performances have filled United fans with enthusiasm.

It is early doors to suggest that the 21-year-old Dutchman can reach the levels of former United superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, but the Portuguese international signed for the Red Devils aged 18.

Ronaldo’s development boomed at United and we could see a similar rise to the top if he is managed in the right way.

Will Depay make an instant impact or will Manchester United fans have to wait to see the best of him?

Chelsea and City set to battle for ‘next John Terry’ – report

Chelsea and Manchester City are considering an offer for Everton‘s John Stones as a long-term investment, according to the Daily Mail.

Stones has been under the watch of Chelsea scouts for the past 18 months and is reportedly seen as a long-term replacement for captain John Terry.

The 20-year-old central defender has impressed over the last two seasons and is tipped to be one of the best in the country as he continues to develop.

Chelsea’s search for John Terry’s replacement may seem premature given that he has played every minute of their Premier League season, but they will need to move quickly for Stones if City are interested.

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This summer could be a good time for Chelsea to sign Stones as his development would be helped by Terry. The former England captain has a formidable partnership with Gary Cahill, who has gone from strength-to-strength since signing for the club in 2012.

Manchester City are targeting younger British stars to meet homegrown quota regulations, and Stones is an ideal candidate. The Englishman has four caps and has become one of the first names on the team-sheet for Roberto Martinez.

City’s defence has been questioned this season as they failed to put up much of a challenge for the Premier League title and Manuel Pellegrini is expected to strengthen his options this summer.

Everton are not looking to offload Stones but with the financial power of Chelsea and City they could well be forced into accepting bids upwards of £20 million for their starlet.

Stones has been likened to Terry for his no nonsense and calm approach. He netted his first Everton goal in their 3-0 win over Manchester United last month with a powerful header.

Will Stones move on this summer? Could he be the next John Terry?