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    Contract Rebels: The Premier League stars who are free to sign a pre-contract agreement in January

    With the likes of Newcastle expected to splash their new-found cash when the January transfer window gets underway in under six weeks time, many are predicting what could be a record-breaking mid-season market.

    As Real Madrid look set to try and once again lure French superstar Kylian Mbappe away from PSG with his contract ticking away, the Premier League also has a host of heavyweight names who are soon to find their careers at a crossroads.

    With both Manchester United and Chelsea still trying to tie some of their key stars down to a new deal, we have taken a look at a handful of players that will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement elsewhere in January.

    Antonio Rudiger – Chelsea

    Getting on the scoresheet and helping Chelsea land a 3-0 win away at Leicester last weekend, Antonio Rudiger has certainly played a vital role in Thomas Tuchel’s Stamford Bridge resurge.

    Helping the Blues lift their second Champions League title back in May, the German international has been one of Tuchel’s standout performers this season and has even been regarded as one of the Premier League’s best central defenders.

    However, despite forming an impressive partnership with Thiago Silva, the 28-year-old is soon to enter the final six months of his deal in west London and no movement has been made since opening the 2021/22 campaign.

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    While the defending European champions might have made it clear that they want Rudiger to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge, it has been reported that they are unwilling to meet his £200,000-per-week demands.

    With Rudiger still yet to make a decision on his future, BILD reported last week that German giants Bayern Munich could ‘easily’ match his valuation, a figure that would double his current salary.

    Paul Pogba – Manchester United

    With Manchester United announcing on Sunday morning that they had parted ways with Ole Gunnar Solskjær following their woeful 4-1 defeat against Watford, whoever comes through the door next will know that they have some real problems that need sorting out.

    Along with now appearing in an uphill battle to secure a top-four finish this season, the issue surrounding Paul Pogba’s future has only continued to steal plenty of the Old Trafford headlines over the past month.

    Continuing to divide opinion around the red half of Manchester, the World Cup-winner currently finds himself on the sidelines with a thigh injury that he picked up while away with France on international duties.

    With some suggesting that Pogba could be out for the remainder of the year, questions will only continue to be asked as to whether the 28-year-old has played his last game for the former Premier League champions.

    Not expected to be short of options come January, Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola has touted both Real Madrid and Juventus as possible destinations.

    Andreas Christensen – Chelsea

    While Rudiger might be one Chelsea central defender who finds his current Stamford Bride deal ticking away, he isn’t the only international star that they’re yet to agree a new contract with.

    Although Andreas Christensen might have found his future come under scrutiny during Frank Lampard’s time at the club, the 25-year-old has enjoyed a real career resurge in west London.

    Immediately fitting into Tuchel’s back-five system, Christensen has become a fan favourite with Chelsea fans and the Blues have reportedly made it clear that they’re keen on agreeing a new deal before the window reopens.

    However, while Tuchel might have stated that he remains calm over the situation, it appears that the Premier League heavyweights could face stiff competition come January.

    Making his return to the Nou Camp earlier in the month, The Daily Express reported over the weekend that Xavi has identified Christensen as one potential signing that they could agree a pre-contract agreement with.

    James Tarkowski – Burnley

    While Burnley might find themselves at the heart of a relegation battle this season, it appears that one of their key stars could be heading for the Turf Moor exit when January come around.

    With Clarets boss Sean Dyche stating over the weekend that he can offer no assurances over James Tarkowski’s future, all signs are pointing towards the 29-year-old potentially leaving on a free next summer.

    Reportedly with no intention of extending his stay and keen to secure a move away over the coming weeks, the two-cap England international looks set to have plenty of suitors waiting to clinch his signature.

    Along with The Telegraph suggesting last month that Tarkowski could be one of Newcastle’s first big-money arrivals, it also appears that David Moyes could be looking to reignite his long-standing interest.

    With Angelo Ogbonna suffering a season-ending ACL injury earlier in the month, West Ham have made it no secret that they are a keen admirer of the Burnley ace and even made a £30million offer last year.

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