If you have tight transfer budget, pre-contract expiry signings can be your solution. These are signings made completely free, with a player joining your club once their contract ends. These stars must be in the last six months of their contracts to approach them on such a deal, so you may miss out on some of them if they sign fresh contracts with their current clubs.
For a full list of all contract expiry signings, visit the table at the bottom of this page.
Gianluigi Buffon (CA 177 – PA 194)
Best attributes: 20 determination, 20 influence, 20 command of area
Value: £3.5 million
Wage: £143,000 a week
Recently voted the best goalkeeper in the world, it’s incredible that Gianluigi Buffon is maintaining his level at the age of 39. The Juventus man looks set to retire at the end of the season, having won near enough everything but the Champions League in his career.
The World Cup winner can be snapped on a contract expiry deal in Football Manager 2018, giving you one last hurrah with the Italian icon. Buffon has 20 determination, 20 influence and 20 command of his area which contribute to his 177 current ability score. Despite getting him for free, you must try to get his hefty £143,000 a week wages reduced.
Alexis Sanchez (CA 175 – PA 182)
Positions: AM (LRC), ST
Best attributes: 18 flair, 17 bravery, 17 dribbling
Value: £70 million
Wage: £140,000 a week
A contract expiry deal that could very much occur this coming January is Alexis Sanchez to Manchester City. It remains to be seen whether Arsenal will look to cash in on star man with six months to run on his contract or keep him for one last push towards the Champions League places.
The talismanic Sanchez has wages of £140,000 a week with the 28-year-old winger, attacking midfielder or striker holding a 175 current ability rating. He may even have some growth in him with the 28-year-old’s potential 182, so keep an eye on his stats of 18 flair, 17 bravery and 17 dribbling.
Arjen Robben (CA 169 – PA 180)
Positions: M (RL), AM (RL)
Club: Bayern Munich
Best attributes: 20 dribbling, 18 professionalism, 17 flair,
Value: £23 million
Wage: £120,000 a week
After announcing his retirement from the Dutch international team, time is now ticking down on Arjen Robben’s club career. The 33-year-old still seems happy at Bayern Munich, but a move back to Holland could be tempting for the winger.
The former Chelsea and Real Madrid man has 20 dribbling, 18 professionalism and 17 flair on the game, helping out his 168 CA score. His weekly wages of £120,000 should come down if you make an approach for the veteran.
Giorgio Chiellini (CA 167 – PA 167)
Positions: D (CL)
Best attributes: 20 bravery, 19 tackling, 18 strength
Value: £14 million
Wage: £111,000 a week
Giorgio Chiellini gives his all for his Juventus team, but with defensive partner Leonardo Bonucci leaving for AC Milan last summer, perhaps Chiellini could also be tempted by a move. The 32-year-old has been at Juve for 13 years, so it's now or never for a final move in his career.
The centre back will set you back £111,000 a week in wages, giving you his 20 bravery, 19 tackling and 18 strength. Those stats help out his 167 current ability rating, making him a fantastic acquisition to your defence even at his age.
Andrea Barzagli (CA 162 – PA 167)
Positions: D (CR)
Best attributes: 20 marking, 18 decisions, 18 determination
Value: £2.5 million
Wage: £95,000 a week
With Andrea Barzagli 36, it is likely that Giorgio Chiellini could be the last man left of the Buffon-Barzagli-Bonucci-Chiellini Juventus and Italy wall of the past five years. Centre back Barzagli has been as important man as any in that defensive machine, and he will be sorely missed once he leaves the Allianz Stadium.
20 marking, 18 decisions and 18 determination are outstanding stats, but can you be prepared to pay as much as £95,000 a week to get hold of the ageing Barzagli? Despite his 162 current ability rating, it may just be one season too far for the Italian international.
Juan Mata (CA 162 – PA 174)
Positions: AM (CR)
Club: Manchester United
Best attributes: 19 technique, 19 first touch, 18 off the ball
Value: £42 million
Wage: £160,000 a week
An expiring contract that has gone under the radar is Manchester United’s Juan Mata. Given the Spaniard’s history with manager Jose Mourinho it's no wonder why he hasn’t been given a new deal, with former Chelsea man Mata not quite doing enough since moving to Old Trafford.
A return to Spain could be on the cards, but it’s a fantastic opportunity for you to snap up attacking midfielder or right winger Mata on FM 18. His 162 current ability rating will cost you £160,000 a week, giving you his 19 technique, 19 first touch and 18 off the ball.
Mesut Ozil (CA 162 – PA 174)
Positions: AM (CRL)
Best attributes: 19 creativity, 19 flair, 19 off the ball
Value: £58 million
Wage: £140,000 a week
Joining Alexis Sanchez in the Arsenal pre-contract signing boat is Mesut Ozil. The rumours suggest that Ozil will join up with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United next summer, after working with the manager at Real Madrid. He would be a like-for-like replacement for Juan Mata, but would it be much of an improvement?
The 28-year-old has a 162 CA rating and a potential to hit 174, so there may be an ounce of growth left in World Cup winner Ozil. £140,000 a week wages are steep, but they may just be worth it for the German’s 19 creativity, 19 flair and 19 off the ball.
Franck Ribery (CA 158 – PA 178)
Positions: M (L), AM (LC)
Club: Bayern Munich
Best attributes: 19 flair, 19 consistency, 18 first touch
Value: £9.5 million
Wage: £205,000 a week
Another injury setback may mean we may never see Franck Ribery in a Bayern Munich shirt again, with the 35-year-old’s contract up in the summer. The left midfielder, winger or attacking midfielder has struggled for regular starts due to form and fitness for the past two seasons, with Kingsley Coman putting his place in the side under serious threat.
Former France international Ribery has large wages of over £200,000 a week, so you will need to negotiate a reduction with his team. 19 flair, 19 consistency and 18 first touch provide the former Marseille man with a 158 CA.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (CA 158 – PA 185)
Club: Manchester United
Best attributes: 20 balance, 19 flair, 19 ambition
Value: £5.2 million
Wage: £125,000 a week
It looked likely that Zlatan Ibrahimovic was heading for the US over the summer, but the big striker U-turned to sign a fresh one-year deal with Manchester United. With a Europa League and EFL Cup win now behind him can Zlatan inspire his team to go for the Premier League title. With the Swede out injured and Manchester City 11 games unbeaten, this task may just be too big, even for Ibrahimovic.
Ibra’s £125,000 a week wages should come down a touch, with the 34-year-old’s rating now 158 on FM. 20 balance, 19 flair and 19 ambition can be yours, but can you deliver the legend one final trophy in his career?
Santi Cazorla (CA 155 – PA 165)
Positions: M (C), AM (RLC)
Best attributes: 18 technique, 17 creativity, 17 first touch
Value: £20 million
Wage: £100,000 a week
A severe ankle injury led to a serious infection for Santi Cazorla, but it's great to hear that the Arsenal man should be returning to the field in the new year. The 32-year-old’s creativity would be an asset to any side, and that can be for your team on FM 18 with no need for a transfer fee.
18 technique, 17 creativity and 17 first touch help Spanish international Cazorla to a 155 CA score, which can be yours for wages of £100,000 a week.
More contract expiry signings
|Fernandinho||30||DM M (C)||Man City||Brazil||153/ 160||£21m||£100k|
|Stefan de Vrij||25||D (C)||Lazio||Holland||153/ 163||£17m||£41k|
|Ander Herrera||27||M (C) DM||Man United||Spain||152/ 160||£33m||£115k|
|Miranda||32||D (C)||Inter Milan||Brazil||152/ 161||£7m||£95k|
|Juanfran||32||D (R) WB (R)||Atletico Madrid||Spain||152/ 143||£7m||£89k|
|Ezequiel Lavezzi||22||AM (LRC) ST||Hebei Huaxia||Argentina||152/ 165||£21m||£427k|
|Emre Can||23||DM M (C)||Liverpool||Germany||152/ 163||£26m||£45|
|Leon Goretzka||22||M (C) DM AM (C)||Schalke||Germany||151/ 173||£20m||£31k|
|Gabi||34||M (C) DM||Atletico Madrid||Spain||151/ 159||£3m||£65k|
|Iker Casillas||36||GK||Porto||Spain||151/ 188||£2m||£111k|
|Andre Gignac||31||ST||Tigres||France||151/ 153||£7m||£68k|
|Aritz Aduriz||36||ST||Athletic Bilbao||Spain||151/ 155||£1m||£27k|
|Xavi||37||M (C)||Al-Sadd||Spain||150/ 184||£1m||£171k|
|Carlos Vela||28||AM (RLC) ST||Real Sociedad||Mexico||149/ 160||£16m||£38k|
|Agustin Marchesin||29||GK||America||Argentina||149/ 152||£5m||£19k|
|Carlos Bacca||30||ST||AC Milan*||Colombia||148/ 160||£16m||£105k|
|Yohan Cabaye||31||M (C) DM AM (C)||Crystal Palace||France||148/ 160||£17m||£86k|
|Miguel Angel Moya||33||GK||Atletico Madrid||Spain||148/ 153||£5m||£27k|
|Daniel Carrico||28||D (C) DM||Sevilla||Portugal||147/ 153||£10m||£22k|
|Jack Wilshere||25||M (C) AM (CRL)||Arsenal||England||147/ 157||£22m||£90k|
|Ross Barkley||23||M (C) AM (C)||Everton||England||147/ 159||£22m||£48k|
|Domenico Criscito||30||D (LC) WB (L)||Zenit||Italy||147/ 153||£8m||£38k|
|Thiago Motta||34||DM||PSG||Italy||147/ 163||£2m||£164k|
|Geoffrey Kondogbia||24||M (C) DM||Inter Milan*||France||147/ 162||£15m||£111k|
A = Age
V = Value
W = Wage
*denotes parent club
Let us know who you have signed in the comments section below.
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