Messi, Benzema, Kante, Skriniar, Depay best free agents in 2023 summer

Messi, Benzema, Kante, Skriniar, Depay best free agents in 2023 summer

Players' contracts with their current clubs to expire in 6 months

By Can Erozden

ANKARA (AA) - The 2023 summer transfer market in football is likely to be full of action as many high-profile players such as Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante, Milan Skriniar, and Memphis Depay will be free in June unless they renew their deals with their clubs.

Messi, who recently won the 2022 FIFA World Cup with Argentina, is expected to extend his stay at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), but his current deal will expire on June 30, the German football data website Transfermarkt confirmed.

As Messi is in his final year of his contract, he is still a potential summer free agent.

In 2021, Messi inked a two-year deal with PSG with an option for a third year.

The parties are expected to hold talks soon to decide whether they extend for another season or not.

A PSG forward since 2021, Messi scored 12 goals and made 14 assists in 19 matches for the French club this season.

The 35-year-old had seven goals in this winter's World Cup to guide Argentina to their first World Cup title since 1986.

Before the World Cup triumph, Messi and his compatriots won the 2021 Copa America.

Former Barcelona forward Messi scored 98 goals in 172 international appearances for Argentina since 2005. He is also the Argentine national team captain.

Messi, also a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, helped PSG secure the French Ligue 1 title last season.

He bagged 10 Spanish La Liga and four UEFA Champions League titles with Barcelona, where he spent the majority of his career.

- 2022 Ballon d’Or winner Benzema set to be free in June

Karim Benzema is a decent Real Madrid forward to win many major titles in Spain and five Champions League trophies.

The Real Madrid ace, who is of Algerian descent, is also one of the leading goal scorers in Europe.

In 2009, Real Madrid signed him from France's Olympique Lyon, which was Benzema's boyhood club.

But the 35-year-old's future at the Whites is uncertain as Benzema is yet to renew his contract that will expire on June 30.

Benzema spent a splendid 2021-22 season with Real Madrid playing a vital role in the team's local and international success.

Last season, Benzema scored 44 goals in 46 matches for the Spanish powerhouse and helped Real Madrid win the 2022 UEFA Champions League and Spanish La Liga.

Thanks to this stellar performance, Benzema was awarded a prestigious Ballon d’Or in October 2022, which was his first.

However, a thigh injury forced Benzema to pull out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. He was injured in training before the World Cup started.

On his 35th birthday in December, Benzema retired from international football after having 97 caps and scoring 37 goals for his nation.

France, without Benzema, lost to Argentina on penalties to return home with a silver medal.

This season, Benzema scored eight goals in 13 matches for Real Madrid.

- Kante can leave Chelsea this summer

Famous for his hard work and stability in the center of the park, Chelsea's N'Golo Kante will be another favorite player for the clubs that are seeking a midfielder for free.

Kante, who was a valuable member of France's 2018 World Cup winning squad, can make negotiations with other clubs before the summer of 2023.

The Frenchman won the English Premier League title twice -- in 2016 with Leicester City and in 2017 with his current club Chelsea.

Kante moved to Chelsea in 2016 after claiming the Premier League with Leicester City, which was one of the fairy tales in football.

He also won a Champions League and Europa League with Chelsea.

The 31-year-old did not play for France in the 2022 World Cup for a hamstring injury.

He is expected to return to action in February.

Kante has been a France midfielder since 2016 playing 53 matches for Les Bleus.

- Clubs eye Inter defender Skriniar

Milan Skriniar, an Inter Milan central defender since 2017, is one of the best targets for clubs that want to cement their defense for the next season.

Slovakian international Skriniar, 27, is one of the main pillars of Inter as he played 236 matches for the Italian club.

He scored 11 goals in his five-and-a-half-year spell at Inter.

According to Transfermarkt, Skriniar's market value is €60 million ($63.6 million).

Skriniar helped Inter win the 2021 Italian Serie A title.

The Nerazzurri won the Italian league for the first time in 11 years to end Juventus' nine years of dominance in Serie A.

Skriniar played 21 matches for Inter this season.

- Depay can move again

Known for his pace, dribble, and finishing skills, Dutch forward Memphis Depay, 28, is among the big names, whose contract will be expiring this year.

Barcelona snapped up Depay on a free transfer in 2021 after the player had fruitful times at Olympique Lyon.

Depay previously tallied 76 goals and 55 assists in 178 appearances for Olympique Lyon in 2017-2021 to hit the top in his career.

The Dutchman played for PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, and Olympique Lyon before joining Barcelona.

However, Depay netted 14 goals in 41 matches for Barcelona to fall short of the mark in the Spanish powerhouse.

In 2017, Depay won the UEFA Europa League with Manchester United. Before that, he secured the Dutch league with PSV Eindhoven in 2015.

This season, he rarely plays for Barcelona. Before the 2022 World Cup, he had thigh problems to be sidelined.

His Barcelona days may end this June as Robert Lewandowski, who was signed in 2022 summer, and Ansu Fati, Raphinha, and Ousmane Dembele are the first choices of Barcelona head coach Xavi in the team's offense this season.

In the early 2010s, Depay was one of the players who had a bright future in the Dutch football.

Depay has been playing for the Netherlands since 2013.

He scored 43 goals in 86 international caps.

In addition to these players, Leicester City's Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans and Turkish defender Caglar Soyuncu, Chelsea's Italian midfielder Jorginho, Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram, Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, Juventus' French midfielder Adrien Rabiot, Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino, along with Real Madrid midfielders Luka Modric, Marco Asensio, and Toni Kroos are the other notable free agents of summer 2023 as it stands.

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