AHEAD of the summer transfer window opening next month, clubs across the country and Europe will be scrambling to tie down their assets with expiring contracts.

Such is the nature of the modern player power, many will walk free from their current employers at the end of June.

Under the Bosman ruling, other clubs will be free to negotiate a new contract with those players to pre-agree terms of a move before the official expiration.

Kylian Mbappe, one of the biggest players in world football, will see his current PSG contract expire in the summer – and he could end up somewhere like Real Madrid.

Daily Echo: Kylian Mbappe could land a signing-on fee as large as £150million if he moves this summer (Pic: PA)Kylian Mbappe could land a signing-on fee as large as £150million if he moves this summer (Pic: PA)

The trade-off for acquiring a player on a ‘free’ is you end up forking out massive amounts for signing-on fees and agents’ fees – they take the place of the fee for release of a contract.

But there could still be some astute deals done. Here are five that Saints should target, if they are not already…

Boubacar Kamara

Marseille defensive-midfielder, Boubacar Kamara, has been linked to Saints in the past but now is reportedly in talks to join Premier League rivals Aston Villa this summer.

The 22-year-old has already been a regular starter in Ligue One for four seasons, and has played in the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League.

Kamara is a former France under-21 international and the perfect understudy and replacement to Oriol Romeu, who will turn 31 year.

It would likely be a big deal on wages, and will be the stumbling point for many, but finding a long-term solution for such a pivotal position on the pitch is priceless.

Playing alongside captain James Ward-Prowse, it would show the ambition the 27-year-old England international needs to further reaffirm his loyalty with Saints.

Daily Echo: Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara (Pic: PA)Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara (Pic: PA)

Joe Rothwell

A more realistic midfield option who could be on his way to the Premier League for next season anyway, with reported Bournemouth interest following their promotion.

Blackburn Rovers’ Joe Rothwell, 27, represents more of a squad option in the central midfield area – with the versatility to play out wide.

Former Manchester United academy starlet Rothwell has followed the English path but never had the chance in the top-flight, with Premier League 2, League One and now over 150 matches of Championship experience.

Rothwell is set to leave Ewood Park on a free transfer this summer in pursuit of a first Premier League chance, and the former England youth international could surprise a few.

Daily Echo: Blackburn Rovers midfielder Joe Rothwell (Pic: PA)Blackburn Rovers midfielder Joe Rothwell (Pic: PA)

James Tarkowski

This one now looks increasingly unlikely with Burnley in the hot-seat for Premier League survival this campaign, after Leeds United have dropped off.

The Clarets’ dependable 29-year-old centre-back James Tarkowski is out of contract this summer after six years with the Lancashire club.

He could opt to renew his terms if they survive the drop, while Everton have also had reported interest in the defender.

Saints need someone reliable and cool to play alongside Mohammed Salisu, and that kind of player never comes cheap.

It would be a show of intent if they were to provide a package tempting enough for Tarkowski to devote the final few years of his peak to St Mary’s, buying more time for the whole Sport Republic project to come together.

Daily Echo: Burnley defender James Tarkowski (Pic: PA)Burnley defender James Tarkowski (Pic: PA)

John Swift

Another free agent option from the Championship is Reading’s star midfielder John Swift, who is coming off the back of two ridiculous seasons in the second division.

The 26-year-old Chelsea academy graduate has scored 11 goals and registered 13 assists this campaign, despite the Royals finishing just four points off the drop.

Add that to the 16 goal contributions he provided the season before, and Swift is so deserving of a chance in the Premier League.

Saints need creativity from midfield and Swift provides exactly that, at a cut-price and wages that likely are not abnormal in the Saints structure.

Daily Echo: Reading midfielder John Swift (Pic: PA)Reading midfielder John Swift (Pic: PA)

Divock Origi

A deal for Belgian international Divock Origi seems unfortunately very unlikely, with reported Newcastle United interest.

The 27-year-old striker will not sign a deal with his new club until after Liverpool’s Champions League final this month.

Origi has only made six Premier League appearances this term yet scored three goals – half of Armando Broja’s account – and has been at the centre of huge moments for the Reds.

He has 41 notches in 171 appearances for Liverpool, including two versus Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final and another against Spurs in the final.

Origi would be big wages and that is why he will likely move to St James’ Park, but they will be getting a quality and underappreciated forward who knows how to score.

Daily Echo: Liverpool forward Divock Origi (Pic: PA)Liverpool forward Divock Origi (Pic: PA)

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