The highly published Lionel Messi transfer saga is at a critical juncture as he approaches the expiry of his contract and is free to talk to clubs regarding pre-contractual agreements.
However, this isn’t the only transfer story of this nature and several coveted goalkeepers are also nearing the end of the agreements with their clubs. Likewise, they will be free to make contact with clubs who may be interested in their services come the summer.
With a transfer market that is likely to be leaner than most recent years, even some of Europe’s biggest names, particularly outside of the Premier League, will not have a surplus to spend on players and will be looking at cheaper alternatives to their usual player buying activity.
This week’s Sparta Spotlight looks at some of the best goalkeeper’s whose contracts expire in the summer of 2021, one or two of which may have slipped under your radar...
Gianluigi Donnarumma – AC Milan
It does not seem too long ago since AC Milan fans were venting their frustration at the 18-year-old starlet Gianluigi Donnarumma’s reluctance to sign a new deal, by throwing fake money at the youngster during an Italy under-21 match in 2017.
Needless to say, the heir apparent to his namesake Gianluigi Buffon, did indeed pen a new deal making him one of the highest paid players in Italian football, but Milan again face a battle to keep him as his contract expires in the summer.
Donnarumma is certainly not short of suitors, with Chelsea one of the clubs linked to move for the Italy international and despite leading the Serie A title race, Milan could well be outpriced of their own youth product.
Lukasz Fabianski – West Ham
Having performed excellently for David Moyes’ side this term, the uncertainty surrounding Lukasz Fabianski’s contract situation is a source of concern for West Ham fans.
The Polish stopper has played all but one of the Hammers Premier League matches this season and has been in great form as West Ham’s perpetual defensive frailties seem to be a thing of the past.
At thirty-five, the club may be reluctant to sanction a long-term deal for Fabianski which may suggest the delay in any sort of agreement between the two parties.
West Ham may have to act quick, as a longer commitment may appeal more to the man signed from Swansea and pry him away from the London Stadium in the summer.
Rui Silva - Granada
Granada have been enjoying an excellent spell back in La Liga and find themselves in the conversation for European places for the second season running, just three years after Tony Adams and his …unorthodox training methods were not enough to keep the club in the top division.
Portuguese goalkeeper, Rui Silva has very much been at the heart of the club’s unprecedented performance since his move from Nacional, and his superb form this term has grabbed the attention of Roma and Lazio to name a couple, with his contract expiring at the end of June.
Granada are all but certain to lose the 26-year-old with such stiff competition battling for his signature, very much a victim of their own success.
Adrian - Liverpool
Adrian has had a testing time at Anfield after his mistake cost Liverpool the Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid last March, but the man who was ever-present for West Ham, and was indeed reliable back-up to Allisson for a while, will likely be a free agent come the summer.
The likes of Sheffield United and others who have had goalkeeping troubles this season will be lamenting the fact that Adrian wasn’t available a year earlier, but his Liverpool exit could well be to the gain of another club in need of an experienced, proven ‘keeper.
Most Premier League clubs could do a lot worse than bring in the Spaniard on a free to act as back-up or even first choice and you certainly wouldn’t be surprised if he has little trouble securing a new club, if Jurgen Klopp decides not to renew Adrian’s contract.