Hottest free agents in football in 2022 – Part II

Here we will be discussing three more players in massive demand. It is invigorated by the fact that their contracts with the current clubs are coming to an end and they will be up for grabs as the free agents. (Click here for Part I)

Luka Modric

If you are searching for “Aging like a fine wine”, Luka Modric is the epitome of that. The 36-year-old midfielder is still dishing out masterclasses in midfield left, right, and center. He has played a significant part in Real Madrid’s success in La Liga and their unbelievable run in the Champions League this season. Be it making key passes, tracking opponents down, holding play, controlling the tempo of the game, or dribbling past the opposition players, Modric still hasn’t missed a beat.

Image Source: UEFA

The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner is still playing at the highest level in every sense of the word. Modric has already won 18 trophies with Madrid. That kind of experience, class, and pedigree will be an invaluable addition to whichever side he chooses to play for. But given his amazing relationship with the fans and the management of Real Madrid, backed up by his consistent performances, it won’t be a surprise if the Croatian maestro chooses to stay in the Spanish Capital. Madrid currently boasts a spectacular talent in midfield with the likes of Camavinga and Valverde looking more than ready to step up. However, if we have learned anything about Modric over the years, it’s that we can never count him out.

Paulo Dybala

Paulo Dybala was meant to be the flag-bearer and the poster boy of Juventus for the better part of the decade. But things haven’t always been sunshine and rainbows between the two. Not that Juventus ever chastised or disregarded Dybala at any point. It’s like the parent-son relationship, where the parents wanted their son to shape up a certain way and the son actually couldn’t completely live up to the expectations. Then his siblings come after him, Cristiano, Chiesa, and Vlahovic, and suddenly he is not the center of attention that he used to be.

Image source: Riccardo Antimiani Efe

Dybala hasn’t been his usual and old self last few seasons that we all fell in love with. He may also have realized the same and probably wants the way out before it’s too late. Just 28, the Argentine forward can still forge a stellar career outside of Juventus or Italy. With his talent and record, he is already garnering interest from Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, PSG, Inter Milan, Barcelona, and many other top clubs. So, even though it won’t be easy for “La Joya” to leave Juve which he has called home for the last 7 years, it won’t be that difficult for him to find a new home given his abilities and resume.

Ousmane Dembele

From experience to the exuberance of youth, from Luka Modric to Ousmane Dembele, the upcoming transfer window boasts a wide range of talented players in free agency. Unlike Modric, Dembele is yet to prove his mettle at the highest level consistently. His 7-year career at the topmost level has been marred by numerous injuries. Since he joined FC Barcelona in 2017, he has had 14 separate cases of injuries or illness. He has played 148 games for the Culers so far and he missed a total of 102 games because of injuries/illness. There has been a running gag at his expense that there is a different manager in charge in Barcelona every time he returns after recovering from injury.

Image source: La Liga

All said, Dembele has been amazing for Barca despite their indifferent season. His recent run of form and performances are his best in Barcelona. He always had a gift of pace, technical ability, agility, and flair. It’s just that he needs to understand his body better and take care of it. Xavi has openly admitted that he wants him in Barca. It will be interesting whether Dembele opts to stay or not. If he manages to stay fit, Dembele is still just 24 and can have a very long and successful career.