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FIFA 18 Career Mode: Contract expiry signings ending in 2018

We take a look at all the players that you can get for free at the end of the first season in FIFA 18's Career Mode, which includes Messi and Sanchez!


With the ridiculous way transfer fees are going, signing someone for free in football nowadays is almost unheard of. But it is still possible as shown by Manchester United’s move for Zlatan Ibrahimovic last season. On FIFA 18’s Career Mode, you can sign players on a pre-contract agreement, which means that when a player enters the final six months of their contract, they can be purchased on a free transfer and will join your club at the end of the season.

What players on FIFA 18 are available as contract expiry signings?

Any player aged 24 or over who is in the final six months of their contract can enter negotiations for a contract expiry deal.

What’s the difference between a Contract Expiry signing and a Free Agent?

Contract expiry signings can be made when a player is in the final six months of their contract. They will join at the start of the following season.

A free agent has no current club and can be signed instantly.

What are the advantages of a Contact Expiry signing?

A contract expiry signing does not involve a transfer fee. That means you can sign the player for free, all you need to negotiate is the player’s wage, role, contract length and contract clauses.

When is the ideal time to approach a signing?

January 1st. This is when a player enters the final six months of their contract. You can still sign them after this point, but you risk being beaten to the signing by other clubs.

When will the player join my club?

The contract expiry signing will join your side on July 1st. This is when their contract at their former club finishes. From that point on he is at your disposal. 

How to make a contract expiry signing

With the Frostbite engine arriving in Career Mode this season, signing players in general has made a big change in Career Mode. On RealSport’s Career Mode, we managed to secure
Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi, follow these steps and you can too. 

Step 1 – Wait until the January transfer window

To increase your chances of getting the players you want, consider disabling the first summer transfer marker when you start up Career Mode. This can be done when you select your match difficulty and financial board regulations.

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Step 2 – Find the player you want to sign

On the transfers tab, go to search players and find your player.

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Step 3 – Add him to your shortlist

To add a slight bit of realism, you can only approach players to sign if they are already on your shortlist.

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Step 4 – In the Transfer Hub press ‘Approach to sign’ on the player you want

Head back to the Transfers tab and open up the Transfer Hub. Here you can compare all the players on your shortlist and see the current state of play of your offers. 

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Step 5 – Negotiate a deal

This is where your management skills come into play, can you bring the player in for the least amount of money possible? On FIFA 18’s Career Mode you will need to negotiate squad role, wage, contract length and optional extras of release and sell-on clauses.

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Step 6 – see out the rest of the season

Your new signing will arrive on July 1 of the following season. From that moment on he is yours. 

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The best contract expiry signings on FIFA 18 Career Mode

Our best contract expiry signings are the top 11 rated players whose contracts are running out in 2018. This has been almost purely based on their overall rating, whilst also looking at their age and potential. 

A full list of all the contract expiry signings rated 80 or higher can be found at the bottom of this page.

Lionel Messi (OVR 93 – POT 93)

Messi.jpg

Age: 30

Positions: RW

Club: Barcelona

Country: Argentina

Best stats: 97 dribbling, 96 composure, 95 finishing

Wage: £497,000

Yes, the second-best player on the planet is available to be signed for free on FIFA 18. He may be 30 years old, but for no fee, Lionel Messi is absolutely worth whatever wages he wants, which could be as much as £500,000 a week. You could get your hands on someone who has smashed in over 550 goals in their career, and on FIFA 18 the ball just sticks to Messi’s foot with his outrageous 97-rated dribbling. 

The 93-rated Messi is to die for on FIFA 18, and his other incredible stats include his 96 composure, 95 finishing and 95 reactions. The right winger’s specialities are ‘Dribbler’, ‘Free kick specialist’, ‘Acrobat’, and ‘Clinical finisher’. 

Alexis Sanchez (OVR 89 – POT 89)

Sanchez.jpg

Age: 28

Positions: LM, ST, LW, RM

Club: Arsenal

Country: Chile

Best stats: 90 dribbling, 90 agility, 88 acceleration

Wage: £233,000

A contract expiry signing that looks likely to occur in real life is Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez. After a move to Manchester City was cancelled at the last minute, Sanchez looks set to head to The Etihad either for a cut-down price in January, or for free at the end of the season. Since arriving on British shores, Sanchez has bagged an incredible 73 goals in 150 games, playing as a left midfielder, striker, left winger and right midfielder. Sanchez’s current wages are around £235,000 a week, which is still worth paying for the Chilean superstar

The 28-year-old’s most impressive stats on FIFA 18 are his 90 dribbling, 90 agility and 88 acceleration, which make up his 89 overall rating. His specialities are ‘Dribbler’ and ‘Acrobat’. 

Giorgio Chiellini (OVR 89 – POT 89)

Chiellini.jpg

Age: 32

Positions: CB

Club: Juventus

Country: Italy

Best stats: 92 aggression, 92 marking, 92 standing tackle

Wages: £200,000

The second-best centre back on the game is available on a contract expiry signing, and at first thought it seems unlikely that the 32-year-old Chiellini would jump ship and leave Juventus. However, with defensive partner Leonardo Bonucci leaving for AC Milan in the summer, and Gianluigi Buffon possibly retiring at the end of the season, perhaps Bonucci may also want a change of scenery. His wages of around £200,000 a week are expensive for a centre back, but even if it were just for a season it would be worth it to have such a rock in your defence.

Chiellini, 32, has an 89-overall rating on FIFA 18, comprised by his 92 aggression, 92 marking and 92 standing tackle. ‘Tackling’, ‘Tactician’ and ‘Strength’ are his Specialities. 

Gianluigi Buffon (OVR 89 – POT 89)

Buffon.jpg

Age: 39

Positions: GK

Club: Juventus

Country: Italy

Best stats: 90 GK positioning, 89 GK diving, 99 GK handling

Wages: £100,000

Now at the age of 39, it is unlikely that you will be able to get hold of Gianluigi Buffon on Career Mode, but you never know. With an 89 overall, he is still worth taking a punt on and his wages of £100,000 a week are a lot lower than a lot of other world class players. The Italy and Juventus captain has now been playing professionally for 22 years, but perhaps you can tempt him into one season playing elsewhere.

To make up his 89-overall rating, Buffon has 90-rated GK positioning, 89 GK diving and 88 GK handling. 

Mesut Ozil (OVR 88 – POT 88)

Ozil.jpg

Age: 28

Positions: CAM, RW

Club: Arsenal

Country: Germany

Best stats: 92 vision, 90 ball control, 89 short passing

Wage: £235,000

Mesut Ozil’s future is even less clear than teammate Alexis Sanchez. Despite being at Arsenal for four years and winning three FA Cups, the German World Cup Winner still has something to prove. Question marks have arisen over his impact in big games, so the German could choose to sign a fresh deal and prove his quality, or go on to other things. 

Attacking midfielder or right winger Ozil receives a generous 88 rating on FIFA 18, with the playmaker possessing superb vision (92), ball control (90) and short passing (89). However, the 28-year-old’s low defensive work rate and £235,000 a week wages may dissuade you from making a move. 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (OVR 88 – POT 88)

Zlatan.jpg

Age: 35

Positions: ST

Club: Manchester United

Country: Sweden

Best stats: 91 shot power, 91 composure, 91 penalties

Wage: £210,000

Manchester United have effectively snapped up Zlatan Ibrahimovic for free twice, and it looks like his next move will also be a free transfer. The 35-year-old Swede still has the quality, bagging 28 goals for Manchester United last season, but whether he can recover his form after his nasty injury remains to be seen. 

The former Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Barcelona and PSG forward has an 88 overall rating, higher than teammate Romelu Lukaku (OVR 86), and the six-foot-five striker has 91 shot power, 91 composure and 91 penalties to his game. His wages of £210,000 a week are hefty, but for just one season it would be worth it. 

Arjen Robben (OVR 88 – POT 88)

Robben.jpg

Age: 33

Positions: RM, RW

Club: Bayern Munich

Country: Netherlands

Best stats: 92 dribbling, 89 agility, 89 ball control

Wage: £200,000

Arjen Robben not in a Bayern Munich shirt? Although the Dutch right midfielder or winger had successful stints at Chelsea and Real Madrid, he has very much found a home at the Allianz Arena. Now 33, perhaps Robben is eyeing a return to his native Holland, or perhaps you could snap him up in a master move just before he retires.

The flying Dutchman has a superb 88-rating on FIFA 18, with his best stats being his 92-rated dribbling, 89 agility and 89 ball control. His wages of £200,000 a week are pricey but not astronomical enough to rule out a move. 

Andres Iniesta (OVR 87 – POT 87)

Iniesta.jpg

Age: 33

Positions: CM, LM

Club: Barcelona

Country: Spain

Best stats: 94 ball control, 94 vision, 92 short passing

Wage: £230,000

Barcelona fans are sitting nervously with club legend Andres Iniesta joining Lionel Messi in players that are in the final year of their contract. The 33-year-old Iniesta has been at Barcelona for 21 years, and it would be strange to see him in another team’s colours. Could that be a move to the Premier League or Bundesliga? The central or left midfielder’s wages of £230,000 a week could scare you off, but for a player with so much control it’s a risk worth taking.

The Spanish World Cup winner has an 87-overall rating made up by an incredible 94-rated vision, 94 ball control and 92 short passing. It is no surprise Iniesta has the ‘Playmaker’ Speciality as well as ‘Dribbler’. 

Miranda (OVR 86 – POT 86)

Miranda.jpeg

Age: 32

Positions: CB

Club: Inter Milan

Country: Brazil

Best stats: 90 standing tackle, 89 marking, 88 interceptions

Wage: £101,000

A very undervalued centre back, Inter Milan’s Miranda is often overlooked when talking about the world’s best defenders, but judging by his FIFA 18 rating, he would be a very shrewd acquisition on Career Mode, especially on a free. At the age of 32, the Brazilian could still be called upon for a couple of seasons at your club, and his just over £100,000 a week wages are far more reasonable than many of the other players on this list. 

With an 86 overall rating, you can’t really go wrong with signing Miranda, who has 90-rated standing tackle, 89 marking and 88 interceptions.

Franck Ribery (OVR 86 – POT 86)

Ribery.jpeg

Age: 34

Positions: LM, LW

Club: Bayern Munich

Country: France

Best stats: 91 balance, 90 dribbling, 90 ball control

Wage: £155,000

Perhaps someone who doesn’t receive enough praise, Franck Ribery has been an incredibly consistent performer for over a decade. With age and injury niggles taking its toll, Ribery is often rotated at Bayern Munich. With his contract up at the end of the season, he may be looking for one final move to showcase his quality and pick up one last trophy. The 34-year-old’s wages of £155,000 a week are not ridiculous, but something you must consider when going in for him. 

Ribery has an 86-overall rating on FIFA 18, made up by his 91-rated balance, 90 dribbling and 90 ball control. The former French international has the ‘Dribbler’ and ‘Acrobat’ Specialities. 

Bernd Leno (OVR 85 – POT 88)

Leno.jpg

Age: 25

Positions: GK

Club: Bayer Leverkusen

Country: Germany

Best stats: 85 diving, 85 positioning, 84 diving

Wages: £54,000

The only man in our top 10 to have rating growth is Bayer Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno. The 25-year-old keeper has been Leverkusen’s number one for over six seasons now, but with no new contract on the table, it looks as if a move to a big European club could be on the cards. Leno’s £54,000 a week wages make him a tempting move, and if you are looking for a goalkeeper, it should be a no-brainer.

The German has an 85 starting overall rating on FIFA 18, with the potential to hit 88. His best attributes are his 85 diving, 85 positioning and 84 diving. 

Full list of players ending contracts in 2018 above 80 OVR

PlayerAgePos.ClubCountryOVRPOT
Andrea Barzagli36CBJuventusItaly8585
Ander Herrera27CM CDMMan UnitedSpain8484
Juan Mata29CAM RMMan UnitedSpain8484
Aduriz36STAthletic BilbaoSpain8484
Stefan de Vrij25CBLazioNetherlands8388
Jose Maria Gimenez22CBAtletico MadridUruguay8387
Antonio Valencia31RBManchester UnitedColombia8383
Santi Cazorla32CM CDMArsenalSpain8383
Juanfran32RBAtletico MadridSpain8383
Yaya Toure34CM CDMMan CityIvory Coast8383
Jose Reina34GKNapoliSpain8383
Iker Casillas36GKPortoSpain8383
Gianluigi Donnarumma18GKAC MilanItaly8294
Leon Goretzka22CM CAM CDMSchalkeGermany8288
Aaron Ramsey26CM CDM RMArsenalWales8283
Carlos Vela28RW STR. SociedadMexico8282
Joao Moutinho30CM CDM CAMMonacoPortugal8282
Benat30CMAthletic BilbaoSpain8282
Andrea Consigli30GKSassuoloItaly8282
Fernandinho32CDM CM RBManchester CityBrazil8282
Stephan Lichtsteiner33RB RMJuventusSwitzerland8282
Naldo34CBSchalkeBrazil8282
David Villa35STNYC FCSpain8282
Ross Barkley23CAM RM CM RWEvertonEngland8186
Jack Wilshere25CM CAM CDMArsenalEngland8184
Lukas Hradecky27GKEintracht FrankfurtFinland8183
Dani Garcia27CDMEibarSpain8182
Hatem Ben Arfa30CAM STPSGFrance8181
Bastian Schweinsteiger32CM CDMChicago FireGermany8181
Per Mertesacker32CBArsenalGermany8181
Fernando Torres33STAtletico MadridSpain8181
Gabi33CMAtletico MadridSpain8181
Thiago Motta34CDMPSGItaly8181
Samuel Eto’o36STAntalyasporCameroon8181
Darijo Srna35RBShakhtar DonetskCroatia8181
Cedric Carrasso35GKGalatasarayFrance8181
Arrizabalaga22GKAthletic BilbaoSpain8087
Oguzhan Ozyakup24CM CAM CDMBesiktasTurkey8085
Erik Lamela25RM LMTottenhamArgentina8083
Daley Blind27LB CBManchester UnitedNetherlands8081
Daniel Carrico28CB CDMSevillaPortugal8081
Pedro Leon30RM LMEibarSpain8080
Marcelo Diaz30CM CDMU.N.A.M.Chile8080
Domenico Criscito30LB CBZenitItaly8080
Marcano30CBPortoSpain8080
Gabriel Paletta31CBAC MilanItaly8080
Ignacio Piatti32LW LM CFMontreal ImpactArgentina8080
Dusan Basta32RB RMLazioSerbia8080
Andreas Granqvist32CBKrasnodarSweden8080
Fernando Belluschi33CAM CMSan LorenzoArgentina8080
Antonio Mirante33GKBolognaItaly8080
Atiba Hutchinson34CDM CMBesiktasCanada8080
Federico Marchetti34GKLazioItaly8080
Kaka35CAM CFOrlando CityBrazil8080
Michael Carrick35CDMMan UnitedEngland8080
Patrice Evra36LBMarseilleFrance8080
Julio Cesar37GKBenficaBrazil8080

Looking for free players? Click the links below:

Contract Expiry Signings ending in 2019 (second season)

Contract Expiry Signings ending in 2020 (third season)

Free Agent XI

Looking for FIFA 18 young players in other positions? Just click the link below:

Best young strikers

Best young right wingers & right midfielders (RWs & RMs)

Best young left wingers & left midfielders (LWs & LMs)

Best young attacking midfielders (CAMs)

Best young central midfielders (CMs)

Best young left backs (LB)

Best young right backs (RB)

Looking for FIFA 18 wonderkids? Just click the link below:

Strikers

Defenders (CBs, RBs & LBs)

Midfielders (CMs, CAMs & CDMs)

Wingers (LMs, RMs, LWs & RWs)

Argentinian Wonderkids

Brazilian Wonderkids

Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?

Alastair Pusinelli

Currently RealSport's FIFA 18 and Football Manager Content Contributor, but I have covered almost everything across the board for the site.

I have contributed on Cricket, Darts, Esports, Olympics, Tennis and Wrestling for the site, as well as stepping in as Football and Rugby Editor.

Elsewhere, I have been published in The Sunday Times and Variety magazine, as well as working in the offices of Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Hampshire CCC. I am still an active sportsman, playing cricket, football, rugby, tennis and golf.

FIFA 18 Career Mode: Contract expiry signings ending in 2018

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