Free Agents And Expiring Contracts Of Serie A’s Unusual Summer Transfer Window
It has so far been a quiet transfer window in Italy. The Serie A transfer record tells that this summer, clubs have very limited resources to work with when it comes to signing new players or granting expensive contract extensions.
Besides little transfer action, Serie A is also experiencing an unusual number of high-profile free agents. After Gianluigi Donnarumma and Hakan Çalhanoğlu left AC Milan at no cost, UEFA Euro 2020 winner Giorgio Chiellini is currently out of contract and has entered talks to discuss the terms of a new deal with Juventus.
Other protagonists of Italian soccer, like Juventus’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala and Napoli’s captain Lorenzo Insigne, will see their contract expire at the end of the 2021/22 Serie A season.
Numbers Of The Ongoing Summer Transfer Window
Transfermarkt numbers for Serie A suggest that teams are taking a very cautious approach to spending this summer.
In the pre-pandemic summer transfer windows, Serie A’s total transfer expenses exceeded the league’s total income by €313 million (summer of 2018) and €338 million (summer of 2019), highlighting the league’s tendency to engage in large spending for players.
In the 2020 summer transfer session, which was the first to feel the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the approach by Serie A clubs became much more prudent: That summer’s total expenses exceeded the total income by €111 million (a discrepancy of over €200 million from both 2019 and 2018) and were down 33% from the previous season.
Now, with about a month left in the 2021 summer transfer window, the Serie A transfer record reports a total negative balance of €43.5 million.
This amount, which is calculated by subtracting the €299.5 million of transfer expenses from the €256 million of income, is an indicator of the strong financial pressure that is currently freezing much of Serie A’s transfer action.
Serie A’s Free Agents
Meanwhile, two high-profile Serie A players, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Hakan Çalhanoğlu, have already completed transfer moves at no cost this summer. Because AC Milan were not willing to satisfy the players’ salary demands, Donnarumma and Çalhanoğlu left the Rossoneri for more remunerative opportunities at Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan, respectively.
The next big name on the list of free agents is defender Giorgio Chiellini, a fresh UEFA Euro 2020 winner with the Italy national team. Chiellini, who will turn 37 in August, has spent the last 16 seasons at Juventus, during which he lifted nine consecutive Scudetti, setting a record for Europe’s top-5 leagues.
Despite the advanced age, Chiellini remains one of the best markers in European soccer, as highlighted by his performance at UEFA Euro 2020. While he might lack the ball distribution of modern center-backs, his ability to read the game and leadership skills continue to make a difference on the international stage.
Chiellini is expected to sign a two-year contract extension at Juventus, but as Gazzetta dello Sport reports, the player and club still have to agree on the terms. In the past season, he was collecting a €3.5 million net wage.
Another UEFA Euro 2020 winner, goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, is currently a free agent after having agreed on a contract resolution with Torino. At 34 years old, Sirigu boasts a successful career, having won four consecutive Ligue 1 trophies with PSG and received multiple call-ups to the Italy national team.
According to calciomercato expert Gianluca di Marzio, Sirigu is ready to sign a one-year deal with Genoa with an option for the second year.
Players On Expiring Contracts
Several Serie A players will see their contract expire after the 2021/22 campaign.
Besides having to deal with the delicate matter of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has one season left on his €31 million/year contract, Juventus will need to sort out Paulo Dybala’s situation.
The Argentine star might leave Turin for free in July 2022 if Juventus fail to renew the terms of Dybala’s deal, which currently sees him pocket €7.3 million/year, according to Gazzetta dello Sport estimates.
Three captains of major Serie A clubs are likewise on expiring deals – Napoli’s left winger Lorenzo Insigne, AC Milan’s center-back Alessio Romagnoli and Inter’s goalkeeper Samir Handanović. Roma’s midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini, who had to forgo Italy’s UEFA Euro 2020 call-up due to injury, will also see his contract with the Giallorossi expire on June 30, 2022.
All these players are at different stages in the contract extension talks with their respective clubs, as Sky Sport in Italy reveals.
The clubs’ necessity to work with limited budgets, and the player agents’ requests for a salary increase, are causing negotiations to linger.