There are a number of free agents on the market who will make decisions on their future on July 1 when the transfer window officially opens and their contracts expire. These include Chelsea pair Jose Bosingwa and Salomon Kalou.
But what of those who will be in that exact situation in a year's time? The Bosman rule means clubs are under increasing pressure to sell their stars who have just one year remaining, sign them to a new contract, or risk losing them for free. It was one of the reasons Manchester United were able to sign Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund so easily.
Here is our list of the best five or most in-demand Premier League players whose contracts expire in the summer of 2013, and who are attracting a great deal of transfer talk...
Robin Van Persie - Arsenal
The most in-demand man in the Premier League, Robin van Persie won the Golden Boot, the PFA Player of the Year, and the Football Writers Player of the Year individual awards last season. The big problem? Medals for team success he desperately lacks. Even at Euro 2012 with Holland his attempt was a disaster, and choosing to stay at Arsenal is a gamble if he wants medals. Manchester City want him, and it is a rumour which just will not go away, and will not until Van Persie commits himself to the club. Juventus have been strongly linked with signing him, but manager Arsene Wenger has bet an ice cream that he would not leave for Serie A.
Clint Dempsey - Fulham
American Clint Dempsey had an outstanding season last year, scoring 17 Premier League goals. At 29, he has spoken of his ambition to play Champions League football and test himself at a higher level, and Manchester United, and Arsenal have been linked, along with Europa League sides Liverpool and Roma. So far no bids have been reported, and even though Fulham boss Martin Jol had been reported to being resigned to losing his star, as pre-season approaches he will surely now be full of hope that his star may stay and sign a new contract.
Scott Sinclair - Swansea City
Ambitious Swansea star Scott Sinclair is a key man who Michael Laudrup faces a real challenge in keeping at the Liberty Stadium. He was instrumental in helping the Swans achieve promotion, and finished 2010/11 as their second highest scorer behind Danny Graham. The winger, 23, is a superb young talent who has the ability to go on and play for England, and was linked with Liverpool in January before Liverpool took Brendan Rodgers as manager. A 12 month transfer embargo agreed between the two clubs means a move won't happen this summer, but if he doesn't sign a new deal then Swansea may decide to cash in by selling him elsewhere. They don't want to, chairman Huw Jenkins has called for a new deal to be put in front of Sinclair to sign, and going through next season with uncertainty hanging over him is no good for club, player, or manager.
Moussa Dembele - Fulham
Belgian star Moussa Dembele has reinvented himself at Fulham under Martin Jol. Signed by Mark Hughes as a forward, he has evolved his game playing the majority of last season in central midfield. He has attracted interest from Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool, but like Dempsey there has so far been no movement. Dembele is 24 and wants to test himself at a higher level like many of his international teammates, and appears unlikely to want to sign a new contract, but if the right offer, believed to be in the region of £10 million, does not come in then he will not be going anywhere and will see out his contract.
Nigel de Jong - Manchester City
Nigel de Jong is still one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League, and City being willing to sell him tells us several things. It says a lot about Roberto Mancini's intention to play more attacking football, it tells us City may have a younger replacement lined up, and it reveals the strength of City's squad. De Jong made just 11 league starts last season, and you can understand his reticence to stay rather than sign a new deal if he wants to play regularly. He is still 27 and there has been interest from Serie A as well as Arsenal, we just wonder if City are making a mistake in selling him and not being able to convince him to sign a new deal.
Will these five stay or go- and where? Who else should be on this list?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald