Snapping up free agents of genuine quality is something all clubs love to do for obvious reasons and as our graphic reveals, there could be plenty of bargains available around Europe ahead of the 2015/16 season.
Obviously some players end up renegotiating fresh deals with their clubs at the 11th hour, though more often than not the fact their contracts have been allowed to expire signals intent to move on, or their employers’ willingness to see them leave.
Having consulted the stats at transfermarkt.com, these players have been selected to represent the best free transfer XI available to our minds. Read on for the explanations.
GK: Neto, Fiorentina: Transfer value £5.5m
The Brazilian stopper is entering his prime at 25 and the Viola’s loss looks to be Juventus’ gain if rumours are to be believed.
RB: Ignazio Abate, Milan: Transfer value £7.3m
Glen Johnson is another pedigree right-back heading for free-agent status, but at two years the Liverpool man’s junior the 28-year-old Italian international gets the nod.
CB: Ron Vlaar, Aston Villa: Transfer value £4.4m
The Dutch international hasn’t quite hit the heights of his World Cup starring role at Villa Park this season, but should he refuse to sign a bumper new contract there will be plenty of suitors.
CB: Andrea Ranocchia, Inter: Transfer Value £10m
It would be quite a big shock if the Nerazzurri’s 27-year-old skipper was to leave the Italian club, however, the rangy centre-half’s current San Siro deal expires at the end of June.
LB: Marcell Jansen, Hamburg: Transfer Value £3.0m
Capped 45 times by Germany, the former Bayern Munich full-back’s career has been rocked by injury this season, but given Jansen’s impressive Bundesliga career, he is sure to be a desirable signing, even approaching 30.
DM: Nigel De Jong, Milan: Transfer value £7.5m
Extremely familiar to Premier League audiences, the Dutch enforcer won a title while patrolling the Manchester City midfield and although De Jong is no puppy at 30, he still has plenty to offer in the engine room.
DM: Stephane Mbia, Sevilla: Transfer value £7.3m
Although the Cameroonian won’t be remembered overly-fondly as part of a QPR side which was relegated in 2012/13, his move to Sevilla has been marked by double European success, to add to a Ligue 1 title and several French cups from his Marseille days.
CM: Yoann Gourcuff, Lyon: £4m
Part of a Lyon squad which looked for the longest time that it might wrestle the French title from PSG this season, Gourcuff has missed several chunks of the season through injury. Nevertheless, a spectacular spell at Bordeaux previously displayed his talents and Newcastle appeared very interested back in January.
LWF: Hevhen Konoplyanka, Dnipro: Transfer value £15m
Flashback to January 2014 when Liverpool were challenging at the sharp end of the Premier League and the Dnipro winger looked to have all-but signed. Instead confusion prevailed, but 18 months on the playmaker is back in the conscience, with Tottenham now hovering with intent too.
CF: Andre-Pierre Gignac, Marseille: Transfer value £8m
A consistently high scorer in Ligue 1, the French international finished the campaign just gone with 21 to his name and is known to be admired by Arsenal, West Ham and Tottenham.
RWF: Jonathan Walters, Stoke: Transfer value £2.5m
At 31 the Stoke stalwart will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he’s the go-to model for consistency, professionalism, and above all else the squeakiest clean bill of health in the Premier League having hardly missed a minute of action as a Potter. He’ll score the odd goal too.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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