Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Benzema to Man Utd and six other big name La Liga stars that can sign pre-contract deals with Premier League clubs in January

Karim Benzema, Real Madrid v PSG March 2022

The January transfer window is edging closer and Premier League clubs may look to La Liga in an attempt to strengthen their squads. 

The Spanish top flight is home to some incredible players, including some big-name stars that will be available on a free transfer at the end of the season.

As of January 1, players who have just six months left on their current deals can sign a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs.

We’ve taken a look at seven La Liga players that have been linked with Premier League clubs and can sign pre-contract agreements in January.

Karim Benzema

The current Ballon d’Or holder, Benzema spearheaded Real Madrid’s success in La Liga and the Champions League last season.

But he has endured a far less successful period during 2022/23 with injury restricting his action for Los Blancos and ruling out him of the World Cup.

While Fabrizio Romano has said that Madrid are close to agreeing a one-year contract extension with the striker, they are yet to make an announcement so he can talk to Premier League clubs once the January transfer window opens.

According to Spanish outlet El Nacional, Manchester United are ready to launch a sensational offer to lure the 35-year-old to Old Trafford as they bid to find a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.

It has become a pattern in recent years for United to boost their firepower with the short-term signing of an experienced striker as they’ve brought in the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Odion Ighalo, Edinson Cavani and Ronaldo.

Marco Asensio

Once regarded as the future of Real Madrid, Asensio is currently behind Benzema, Vinicius Junior, Fede Valverde and Rodrygo in the pecking order.

The winger still has a decent tally of three goals and three assists in 15 outings across all competitions this season and recently scored for Spain at the World Cup.

Reports in Spain suggest he wants to stay at the Bernabeu, but he has clearly become frustrated after spending more and more time on the bench.

The 26-year-old is currently waiting on a new contract offer, which he will value based on his role in the squad. If he doesn’t get the guarantees that he wants, Asensio might be open to a move to the Premier League.

Arsenal and Newcastle United reportedly made enquiries about him during the summer transfer window and Liverpool have kept tabs on his situation with a view to a permanent move.

Dani Ceballos

After struggling for regular first-team opportunities at Real Madrid, Ceballos spent two seasons on loan at Arsenal and helped them win the FA Cup.

The midfielder returned to Madrid ahead of the 2021/22 season but has played a bit-part role in the last 18 months, starting just four games in all competitions.

With no new contract offer on the table, the 26-year-old looks set to leave the Bernabeu on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Ficherio reported that Real Betis recently made him an offer, but he turned it down as he is holding out for a move to the Premier League.

El Nacional have since claimed that former Spain and Real Madrid manager Julien Lopetegui has Ceballos on his radar after taking over the reins at Wolves.

Luka Modric

Modric also has experience of playing in the Premier League, having made 127 appearances in the competition for Tottenham Hotspur. 

He moved to Real Madrid in 2012 after Manchester United opted for Shinji Kagawa instead and has since established himself as one of the best midfielders in the world, helping Los Blancos win five Champions Leagues and three La Liga titles.

Despite being 37 years old, the Croatia international is still a key player for Carlo Ancelotti’s side and recently starred at the World Cup.

He’s admitted that he’d like to retire at Madrid but they are looking for potential replacements for the veteran midfielder and have been heavily linked with Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham.

El Nacional claim that Manchester City will try and lure Modric back to the Premier League and have asked him to share his decision in the winter transfer window.

Luca Modric, Karim Benzema, Lucas Vazquez, Real Madrid in Champions League action v PSG at Bernabeu Stadium

Toni Kroos

Alongside Modric, Kroos has been a mainstay at the heart of Real Madrid’s midfield in recent years and has played a key role in their success.

Madrid have offered him a one-year contract to extend his deal beyond June 2023, but he is still considering the proposal and will reportedly make a final decision in the new year.

According to SPORT, Manchester City are contemplating making a move for the 32-year-old and are prepared to offer him a deal worth €14m a year.

A move to the Etihad would see him reunite with Pep Guardiola after the duo spent a season together at Bayern Munich in 2013/14.

“Guardiola fought until the last day for me to stay at Bayern,” Kroos recently told Universo Valdano. “If I have to choose a coach who is perfect for my game, it’s Guardiola. I really enjoyed the year with him, he improved me a lot.”

Memphis Depay

Depay joined Manchester United in 2015 but had a chastening experience in the Premier League, scoring just two goals in 33 appearances in the competition.

The Netherlands international rebuilt his reputation at Lyon before completing a free transfer to Barcelona in the summer of 2021.

He scored 12 La Liga goals in his debut season but has fallen down the pecking order following Robert Lewandowski’s arrival at Camp Nou and won’t be receiving a new contract.

While Barcelona sporting director Jordi Cruyff has suggested that the forward will not be allowed to leave during the January transfer window, he can sign a pre-contract agreement.

Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Newcastle United have all been named as potential suitors and Manchester United are reportedly looking to give him a second chance at Old Trafford.

Barcelona forward Memphis Depay during the Champions League match against Dinamo Kiev at the Camp Nou.

Thomas Lemar

A name that always seems to be linked with a move to the Premier League, Lemar looks set to leave Atletico Madrid this summer after failing to agree on a new deal.

There were reports suggesting that the France international had agreed to take a 50% pay cut in order to stay at the Wanda Metropolitan but those have since been dismissed.

“Atletico made us a first offer at the end of last year, we responded with a counter-proposal in January,” agent Arthur Poupel said. “Since then, we haven’t had any news from the club’s leaders.”

Diego Simeone’s side are reportedly looking to offload him in the January transfer window but Lemar holds all the cards and can choose his next club.

While he’s failed to live up to expectations at Atletico, the 27-year-old has often been linked with Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton and a fresh start in a different league could reignite his career.

READ MORE: One left-field transfer link for all 20 Premier League clubs ahead of the January transfer window