Robben, Goretzka, Chiellini top list of Euro stars with expiring contracts

From Arjen Robben to Mario Balotelli, a raft of star names can leave their clubs for free transfers next summer, as things stand. Beginning Jan. 1, they'll be able to discuss terms with foreign sides. Here are 10 who look certain to attract admirers.

Arjen Robben, MF, Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently described Robben and his teammate Franck Ribery as "institutions," but both are set to be out of contract this summer. Both signed new deals when in a similar position a year ago, but Robben in particular would be a top-class pickup for anyone who can put the right package together. In addition, the planned return of Serge Gnabry from his loan at Hoffenheim might signal a changing of the guard at Bayern.

Robben turns 34 in January but still has a turn of pace, and his trademark move -- cutting inside before shooting for goal on that fearsome left foot --shows no sign of dimming in its effectiveness.

Stephan Lichtsteiner, DF, Juventus

He has never been the most glamorous name, but Lichtsteiner, who turns 34 next month, has been so dependable during almost a decade in Serie A and would add to a high-quality team. The Swiss international right-back is likely to leave Juventus despite featuring regularly in the league so far this season, albeit largely due to others' injuries. He was not named in their Champions League squad, and there appears to be no new contract on the table.

Valencia have been linked with his services. He could also fit an upward-looking Premier League club, and there could be further clues as to his future in January.

Leon Goretzka, MF, Schalke 04

Whoever gets hold of Goretzka in July might well land the bargain of the summer. Still just 22, the midfielder has been linked with most of the Premier League's leading lights as well as Barcelona. He also shows little inclination to stay with the Bundesliga's second-place side. Schalke are reportedly keen to put a club-record contract offer his way, but Arsenal are among those linked and have some strong recent history in the German market.

Goretzka has the tools to be a complete midfielder -- strength, hard running, an eye for a pass and the timing to score crucial goals -- and looks most likely to choose from the numerous approaches that should come his way instead of staying put.

Giorgio Chiellini, DF, Juventus

Will Chiellini sign a new contract at Juve, or, at 33, will he widen his horizons for one last big deal elsewhere? He is one of the finest defenders of his era and arguably underrated in some circles. While Juventus have suffered since his partnership with Leonardo Bonucci was broken up last summer, he remains his uncompromising self, and his style would certainly suit any Premier League clubs that fancy putting a proposal his way.

Chelsea have been linked in the past. If Chiellini can be convinced of Antonio Conte's intentions to remain at Stamford Bridge, could he yet see out his career in west London?

Stefan De Vrij, DF, Lazio

Reports suggest that Lazio have given De Vrij a decidedly unseasonal ultimatum: Commit your future to us by Christmas Day, or prepare to depart. The Dutch international centre-back, who has been in fine form this season after bouncing back from long-term injury earlier in his spell in Italy, is admired in Serie A and beyond. Inter Milan are apparently keen, but both Liverpool and Everton are credited with interest in bringing him to England. Barcelona have also been mentioned.

De Vrij is 25, and the decision he makes now might well decide the trajectory of his future career.

Max Meyer, MF, Schalke

If the prospect of losing Goretzka weren't enough, Schalke are also wringing their hands about the possible departure of another hot property. Meyer first came to wider attention with a marvellous performance against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in February 2015. Now 22 and converted by coach Dominic Tedesco to a deeper role than the attacking one in which he began his career, he has been influential in setting both tone and tempo for the Bundesliga high fliers, and he seems on the way to possessing the complete midfield skill set.

Thus far, Meyer has refused to sign a new deal. Could he join former teammates Sead Kolasinac, Joel Matip and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in joining a Premier League club for free next summer?

Bernard, FW, Shakhtar Donetsk

Ukraine's top flight might be something of a backwater, but if anybody had doubts about Bernard's ability, they only had to watch the recent Champions League group stage. The Brazil winger scored twice against Feyenoord and once in the win over Manchester City as Shakhtar progressed to the knock-out stage. He has been on top clubs' radars for some time, and now, at 25, a move seems to appeal. Premier League and La Liga clubs are in the mix. Bernard, who has 14 caps for Brazil, will be a steal for anyone who can land him without a transfer fee.

Juanfran, DF, Atletico Madrid

What a coup it would be if anyone can persuade Juanfran, one of Europe's best right-backs the past decade, to leave the club he has served brilliantly for six years. He hasn't yet signed a new deal after talks fizzled out last year, but a new offer has been mooted, and the 32-year-old has performed superbly to see off the challenge of Sime Vrsaljko, with whom he competes for his spot at Atletico.

Juanfran remains tough, technically sound and dynamic in both halves of the pitch. Will Atletico tie him down before discussions elsewhere can begin?

Amin Younes, FW, Ajax

Younes is currently injured and will not return until early in the new year, but his impact on Ajax's superb run to the Europa League final last season sticks in the mind. It earned him a call-up to the German national team. It also sent scouts from across the continent flocking to watch a skillful, quick-footed left winger. He was expected to depart last summer but now seems certain to depart (at the very latest) when his contract runs down after the present campaign. The 24-year-old should be able to choose from a range of suitors.

Mario Balotelli, FW, Nice

Balotelli has been in marvellous scoring form for Nice, and with his contract due to end in June, he might consider setting his sights higher than a club currently sixth in Ligue 1. There is always an element of risk involved with the striker, but he appears to have settled and, at 27, is playing some of the best football of his career.

Will he choose to stay in a place where he is loved, or will Europe's biggest clubs come calling once again? If the latter comes to pass, perhaps Balotelli will feel there are a few points to prove at the highest level.