Contracts continue play a huge role in football these​ day, not necessarily as an indicator of loyalty as once might have been the case, but in determining transfer market value and offering security or insurance to both players and clubs.

When a contract reaches its final 12 months and the threat of free agency looms, it is an opportunity for buying clubs to take advantage, or even bag a deal for nothing if they are prepared to wait that little bit longer.

Here's a look at a starting XI made up of Premier League stars whose current contracts are due to expire in June 2018 - just 10 months down the line!

*Manchester United's Ander Herrera has been omitted as it is widely believed a long-term new contract is imminent for the Spain midfielder, who is also thought to have rejected initial enquiries/interest from Barcelona earlier this summer.

Tim Krul

Newcastle United v Arsenal - Premier League

Arguably among the better goalkeepers in the Premier League until a serious injury ended his 2015/16 campaign after just a few games, Tim Krul's career has become somewhat stop/start.

The Dutchman didn't play at all on a loan to Ajax last season, featuring only sparingly for AZ in the second half of the season. If Newcastle fail to arrange a sale this summer, 29-year-old Krul could be a bargain free agent by the time 2017/18 draws to a close.

Alternative: Joel Robles

Craig Dawson

West Bromwich Albion v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League

A West Brom player since 2010 after stepping up from the lower leagues, Craig Dawson has been an invaluable asset for the Baggies in the three seasons that he's been a regular starter.

The versatile Dawson has contributed eight goals across the last two Premier League campaigns and only recently celebrated his 27th birthday.

Alternative: Glen Johnson

Ryan Shawcross


Ryan Shawcross has been linked with various moves away from Stoke for much of his time as a Premier League player, always staying with the Potters in the end.

At 29 years of age, the one-cap England international is by no means a 'veteran' and is as experienced as they come after nine consecutive seasons in the top flight. The idea of a new challenge elsewhere could tempt him.

Alternative: Miguel Britos

Daley Blind

Manchester United v Real Salt Lake

Earlier this summer, Daley Blind expressed his desire to stay at Manchester United as he entered the last 12 months of his current contract he signed upon his arrival from Ajax - one that includes an optional extra year.

Blind has performed at centre-back, left-back and in midfield during his time in England and remains a valuable option. Could be a starter elsewhere if United don't hand him new terms.

Alternative: Robert Huth

Luke Shaw

Manchester United v Swansea City - Premier League

Formerly the world's most expensive teenager, Luke Shaw is nearing the end of the initial four year deal he signed when he arrived at Manchester in the summer of 2014, although the club do still hold the option of extending by a further 12 months should they wish.

The left-back struggled in his debut season, saw his second wrecked by a broken leg, wasn't able to recapture his brief but promising pre-injury form last season and is injured again now.

Alternative: Kieran Gibbs

Emre Can

Liverpool FC v Atletico Madrid - Audi Cup 2017

Liverpool midfielder Emre Can has been stalling over a new contract at Anfield for a whole year now, a situation described as 'not perfect' by manager Jurgen Klopp just this week.

Can has been linked with Juventus in recent months and would be eligible to formally hold talks with the Italian champions, or indeed any other foreign potential suitor, from 1st January if he still hasn't committed to the Reds by then.

Alternative: Jack Wilshere


Watford v Manchester City - Premier League

Midway through last season it was reported that there was no rush for Fernandinho to sign a new contract at Manchester City because his terms didn't expire until June 2018.

But now that date is less than 12 months away it is more of an issue, with a story earlier this summer that the 32-year-old Brazilian was growing concerned that the club hadn't started talks.

Alternative: Yohan Cabaye

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Arsenal v Leicester City - Premier League

Arsenal star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain continues to be linked with a move to Chelsea as he negotiates a critical contract extension at the Emirates Stadium.

His versatility would be a big boost to squad depth for the reigning champions. It could result in a cut price move this summer or a free transfer next year if the Gunners can't give the Ox the terms and/or playing assurances he's looking for.

Alternative: Ross Barkley

Mesut Ozil


Of all Arsenal's 'contract rebel's, Mesut Ozil seems the most likely to actually commit to the club in the near future, but nothing is sure as long as the German World Cup winner remains on a deal that is due to expire in just 10 months' time.

Perhaps where Arsenal might succeed in keeping Ozil is the notable lack of interest in his services. He could risk it to see what offers might emerge were he to become a free agent next year, but it seems unlikely.

Alternative: Yaya Toure

Juan Mata 

Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho may have less and less reason to call upon Juan Mata this season, with strong competition for places from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard.

That being said, the Spaniard is still an important figure and provides his fair share of goals, important ones at that. But, even if he is deemed surplus to requirement, the club would surely take measures to prevent a saleable asset leaving for nothing.

Alternative: Marouane Fellaini

Alexis Sanchez


It is increasingly difficult to imagine a situation whereby anything other than Alexis Sanchez leaving Arsenal a free agent at the end of the season transpires.

The Chilean still appears intent on not signing a new contract, despite huge reported offers from the Gunners, and unless Manchester City offer truly ridiculous money, it seems Arsene Wenger's principles won't allow Arsenal to sell.

Alternative: Fernando Llorente