The 11 Best Free Agents Available This Summer
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The 11 Best Free Agents Available This Summer

29/06/24 16:39

The 11 Best Free Agents Available This Summer

The summer transfer window is normally a blockbuster. Everyone loves a big money signing, spending big is usually a sign of positive intent from clubs, making fans and players alike feel more confident ahead of the coming season.

In a window where high profile players like Victor Osimhen and Marcus Rashford might leave their current clubs for huge fees, fans are inevitably going to be scouring the internet looking for updates on ambitious signings.

That being said, a certain type of signing usually goes under the radar. This type of signing is smart, risk free, and often turns out to be a major success.

I’m of course talking about free transfers, where clubs are free to make contact with a player who finds themselves unattached, disregarding the need for a transfer fee. As of June 30th, there’s a whole host of talented players available to be picked up outside of a contract.

With numerous clubs around Europe struggling financially, I’ve decided to pick out a starting eleven (in a 4-3-3 formation), of players available on a free transfer this summer.

Goalkeeper - David De Gea

Kicking off my list with a huge name, former Manchester United stopper David De Gea is still available on a free transfer after being released last summer.

The Spaniard joined the Red Devils from Atletico Madrid back in 2011, when he was just 20-years-old. He had a wildly successful time at United, but his form started to falter at the end of his tenure. Manchester United and him parted ways in summer 2023, and despite links with Real Madrid, the shot-stopper is still available on a free.

De Gea reportedly earned a whopping £375,000 per week while he was still under contract with Manchester United, which is probably what has put any new club off signing him.

Left Back - Ryan Sessegnon

Ryan Sessegnon is a curious case. It seems he may have hit his peak at just 17-years-old, when he played for Fulham and scooped up just about every award possible. He earned a move to Tottenham Hotspur, costing around €27 million as well as Josh Onomah heading the other way.

Sessegnon has been hammered by recurring injuries since he made the switch to North London, and he has failed to ever truly nail down a starting spot for Spurs. He’s clearly got footballing ability, and if anyone can keep him fit he’d prove a bargain on a free transfer.

Sessegnon reportedly earned £55,000 per week at Tottenham Hotspur, but I would expect him to take a pay-cut in order to earn a contract elsewhere.

Centre Back - Raphael Varane

Raphael Varane has won the World Cup, not to mention four Champions League titles. Somehow, Manchester United managed to be such a mess that even he couldn’t sort them out.

United splashed £40 million to bring Varane to Old Trafford, as well as giving him an eye-watering £340,000 per week. He played well and was sometimes an obvious class above his teammates, but sometimes he wasn’t. I wonder if it’s hard to go from playing with Sergio Ramos to playing with Jonny Evans.

Varane said his farewell to the United faithful this summer as he looks for a new adventure. He’s been linked with Como, who were recently promoted into the Serie A, but it remains to be seen where the Frenchman will end up.

Centre Back - Mario Hermoso

Our first player who’s last club wasn’t a Premier League outfit, Mario Hermoso is next up in my line-up.

The Spaniard joined Atletico Madrid for around €29 million from Espanyol, back in 2019. Since then he has made 174 appearances for Los Colchoneros, earning 5 caps for the Spanish national team along the way.

The defender is also comfortable enough at left back, and at only 29 years old, would be a no-brainer for most sides in Europe given he’s available on a free transfer.

He’s been linked with Aston Villa and Napoli, and given his quality, his wages of around £47,000 a week seem modest.

Right Back - Vladimir Coufal

It feels a bit odd to me that Vladimir Coufal is on this list.

West Ham hold an option of extending the Czech international’s contract by a further year, but it seems they have chosen not to activate such a clause. Instead, the 31-year-old is set to become a free agent as of June 30th, despite still being a great option for the Hammers.

He signed in 2020 from Slavia Prague for a fee of just €6 million, in what has proved to be a massive bargain for the London club. Although it seems inevitable he will depart, both he and the fans will share positive memories of their Europa Conference success.

Coufal has also been playing at Euro 2024, although his side didn’t qualify for the knockout rounds of the tournament.

Coufal shouldn’t have trouble finding a club given his reasonable £35,000 a week wages.

Holding Midfield - Wilfred Ndidi

At just 20 years old, Wilfred Ndidi left KRC Genk to join Leicester for a fee of around €17 million.

The holding midfielder almost immediately became a key player for the foxes, who were looking to fill an Ngolo Kante shaped hole in their side. Ndidi stepped up, and was a highly sought after asset due to it.

Leicester, despite their successes beginning to dwindle, managed to keep hold of the Nigerian for the last seven years. Despite being linked with Arsenal earlier in his Leicester career, Ndidi even remained at the Foxes for a season in the second tier.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a club tight on money comes in for Ndidi, say Everton if they lost Amadou Onana, however his £75,000 per week wages might be a stumbling block.

Central Midfield - Adrien Rabiot

Adrien Rabiot is fantastic.

His stature and technical ability set him apart from other players in his position, he shields the ball well on his ventures forward and his passing range is great considering his build. That’s why I find it so hilarious that he has racked up a total of £0 in transfer fees across his 12 year professional career.

He’s set to move clubs for free once more, and only aged 29, he has a few more great years left ahead of him. Manchester United have previously shown interest, as have Milan, so it looks like he’ll remain at a top European club.

He is on a staggering £148,000 a week, however given he is for some reason immune to transfer fees, I do think he’ll have no trouble finding a club even with his wage demands.

Central Midfield - Thiago

Thiago will never be remembered for his spell at Liverpool, that’s for sure. It’s not to say he hasn’t been good in spells, but the legacy the midfielder holds at Barcelona and Bayern Munich is incomparable.

He joined Liverpool from the latter for €22 million back in 2020, and unfortunately constant injury issues have prevented him ever showing just how gifted he is. He looked a good player, don’t get me wrong, but we’re talking about Thiago here.

That being said, Thiago has probably enjoyed his time on Merseyside. He was taken to immediately by a passionate fanbase, and enjoyed four years of Jurgen Klopp as his illustrious career started to dwindle.

Given he’s entering his twilight years, and his mindblowing £300,000 per week wages, I don’t think it’s likely Thiago continues to play for a top European side. I think Saudi Arabia may be the answer.

Left Winger - Memphis Depay

Memphis Depay has a serious CV on him.

He played for PSV, Manchester United, OL and Barcelona before he signed for Atletico Madrid. Yet, he only cost Atleti €3 million.

The Dutchman always is talked about in high regard due to his successes at both PSV and OL, but he never seems to kick on when he joins one of Europe's elite sides. Don’t get me wrong, he hasn’t been bad for Atletico Madrid and he clearly has the ability, but I always feel he could do more.

He is a key figure for the Dutch national side, and clearly there is a player there if someone is willing to take a gamble, but is he worth the £159,000 a week wages? Milan seem to think so.

Right Winger - Yusuf Yazici

This one is a little bit cheeky, but he can operate on the right side of a front three, so he’s going there.

The Turk joined LOSC Lille back in 2019 for €18.5 million, and actually won Ligue 1 in his first campaign. However, he wasn’t a key player for Lille and ended up on loan stints in Russia and back at his former club Trabzonspor.

He’s been much more valued at Lille since he returned from loan, and has proved himself to be worth the money they paid for him, unfortunately he’s done it as his contract expires.

Yazici only earns £16,000 per week, and while I assume Turkish clubs will be battling for his signature, I think a Premier League side could take a gamble given those wages.

Striker - Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial had a Ballon D’Or clause in his Manchester United contract, that’s how good he was meant to be.

He started with such promise after his €60 million move from Monaco, Martin Tyler’s “Welcome to Manchester United, Anthony Martial.”, convinced everyone The Red Devils had themselves the next big star.

Unfortunately it never happened for Anthony Martial. He spent nine years at Old Trafford, and always looked like he was finally going to kick on, but he never did.

I still think Martial has value to offer, he’s still only 28 and has previously been linked to Tottenham Hotspur. However, I don’t see where he’d slot in that side.

Martial will have to take a huge wage cut before he finds a new club, given his £250,000 per week salary.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Joe Southan

Football Writer

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