The Kylian Mbappe saga was pretty incredible. As he heads into the final year of his contract, Real Madrid made an offer in the region of €200 million and it was rejected by Paris Saint-German—meaning he will probably now leave for free in 2022.
Madrid are confident they will finally get their man and hopefully have him holding up the shirt next summer. PSG have not given up on keeping him though, with consideration going towards a package that would earn him even more than Neymar and Lionel Messi.
Whichever way you look at it, Mbappe is certainly going to be the most high-profile storyline of the next year in the sense of free agents - yet there are some other similar transfer tales that are becoming intriguing.
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Here we take a look at four other elite players in the final year of contracts, and break down just how their future might pan out.

Paul Pogba

He managed to avoid too much attention this summer because there was so much else going on in the transfer world. But make no mistake, this is one of the biggest stories of the season.
Manchester United are desperate for him to sign a new contract, even if it is just a year extension to maintain some value. Yet Pogba has no reason to do that and, in all honesty, it would severely impact his chances of getting a transfer he craves.
His agent Mino Raiola has made it pretty clear over the past couple of years that Pogba has a plan to play for Real Madrid - and if that’s the dream, it can certainly become reality now.

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United celebrates after scoring a goal with Paul Pogba during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Leeds United at Old Trafford on August 14, 2021 in Manchester, England

Image credit: Getty Images

Madrid are looking towards next summer as an absolute game changer in which they sign Pogba along with Mbappe and Erling Haaland.
PSG would also look to get involved in the situation but they have to be considered outsiders at this stage.
Bosses at Old Trafford have not lost all hope of keeping Pogba. They hope their intent in the transfer market this year could convince him to show top form, win trophies, and hang around a couple more years
But it’s expected Pogba will look at his options closely in January, when he can speak to Madrid about a free transfer.

Paulo Dybala

Pretty much every year he’s linked with a transfer and for a while at the beginning of this summer that was the case again.
Yet new boss Max Allegri is an admirer and with Cristiano Ronaldo now gone, it’s expected this team begins to build around La Joya.

Paulo Dybala - Juventus-Empoli - Serie A 2021-2022

Image credit: Getty Images

Clubs like Spurs and Arsenal have had an eye on this, just in case Dybala does decide he wants to try out English football. But plans are already being put in place for an extension to his contract.
This situation could change soon as there have already been three meetings about an extension - and by next week further talks should have taken place and we’ll know whether a new deal is going to be agreed or not.
Talk is of a new deal until 2025 and at a time like this Juve surely can not afford to let him go.

Antonio Rudiger

Not too many top class defenders are running their deals down and that makes the Rudiger situation very interesting.
There is no commitment to stay yet beyond this season and that is part of the reason Chelsea have been in pursuit of Jules Kounde. They wanted to deal with a potential defensive shortage before it even happens.
Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen are also in the final year of their current contracts. Rudiger is a priority to get sorted as Thomas Tuchel has been massively impressed by him since taking charge.

Antonio Rudiger

Image credit: Getty Images

An offer has been put on the table - but so far there has been no positive response from the player’s camp.
Chelsea are patiently waiting for him to sign but sources say there could be a twist to this situation in the coming weeks, so it’s definitely one to watch.

James Rodriguez

His time at Everton is set to end even though the club have the option to spark a 12-month extension to his deal next year.
It’s already clear he does not want to be there and as Everton’s highest paid player it makes sense to offload him as soon as possible. They love his talent and style yet are not keen on the idea of keeping such a star name if the will to play is not there.

Everton's James Rodriguez

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Serious offers for him before the main transfer window closed were few and far between yet there are still options being explored in Turkey and Russia, where window is still open. There is also the potential of Portugal - where PC Porto have been linked - as their window does not close until September 22.
One of the issues Everton have been having in finding him a new club is that he earns about £200,000-a-week.
Somehow, both parties needs to find a resolution to this drama. And very few people close to the situation seem to have faith in him committing to the cause at Goodison Park.
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