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Can Mathieu Flamini match these great Premier League freebies?

| 08.09.2016

Mathieu Flamini became Alan Pardew’s seventh signing of the summer for Crystal Palace, agreeing to join up with the Eagles after he was released at the end of last season by Arsenal. But can the French midfielder be as influential as these five Premier League free transfers?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Jose Mourinho arguably did the best piece of business of the summer when he convinced Ibrahimovic to join him at Old Trafford.

Though the former Swedish international has only played a handful of games for the club, there’s no debating the impact his arrival has had on both players and fans in Manchester already.

Retiring from international football after the Euros in July means Ibrahimovic’s sole aim is to make United great again – and he’s not done a bad job of that so far, netting four goals in as many appearances for the Red Devils. As free transfers go, there aren’t many that can rival this one as the best.

Sol Campbell

This is unquestionably the most controversial free transfer of all-time, as former Tottenham captain Sol Campbell saw his contract out at White Hart Lane only to make the move to bitter rivals Arsenal.

Suffice to say the move didn’t go down too well with Spurs fans – it was certainly a risk worth taking for the former England international.

In five years at the club, Campbell won two Premier League medals, played a key role in Arsenal’s Invincibles campaign, won three FA cups and scored in a Champions League final, before returning to the club in 2010 for a second stint.

Not too shabby for a freebie.

Gary McAllister

Former Liverpool manager once described Gary McAllister as his ‘most influential signing’, after snapping up the former Coventry City man in 2000.

The former Scotland international arrived at Anfield aged 35, and while many questioned the motives behind signing of a player who looked like he’d already peaked in his playing career, his 55 appearances for the Reds in a two-year spell were met with great appreciation from the fans.

He was also a key member of the 2001 treble cup-winning squad, and scored a 45-yard stoppage time free-kick against local rivals Everton in 2001 to ensure his status as a Liverpool legend.

Jay-Jay Okocha

It’s not common for a PSG player to see his contract out in France before switching the City of Love for Bolton – but that’s exactly what Jay-Jay Okocha did back in 2002.

“So good they named him twice”, was the chant from Trotters fans following an impressive first season in the Premier League for the Nigerian international.

Seven goals in his debut season helped ensure Sam Allardyce’s side maintained their Premier League status, before Big Sam made his main man captain for the following season.

Not one to shy away from a trick or two, you’ll find Okocha on many a YouTube compilation video – it’s how we regularly spend our afternoons at Ladbrokes News.

Esteban Cambiasso

When Leicester City announced that they had signed a Champions League, Serie A, La Liga, Coppa Italia, FIFA Club World Cup, Intercontinental Cup and UEFA Super Cup winner, perhaps in hindsight we should have had a few quid on them to win the league the following season…

Cambiasso arrived in the Premier League aged 34, bringing a wealth of experience to the Foxes’ midfield, and the former Italy international played a key role in ensuring Nigel Pearson’s men avoided relegation on their return to the Premier league. And well, you know what happened next.

Unfortunately, Cambiasso opted for a move to Olympiacos last summer, therefore missing out on what would have arguably been the best year of his life with Leicester.

But fans of the East Midlands outfit won’t hold that against him, and their 2014-15 Player of the Year will forever be remembered as a true Leicester legend.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Author

Alex Apati

Alex has been with the Ladbrokes PR team since 2017 having previously worked for the news department. From sparring with Peter Fury to talking interviews on the Duke and Duchess' baby names, he's covered a range of sports and novelty events.

A frustrated West Brom fan who is no stranger to an oche, Alex is originally from Dudley, although he's worked hard to rid himself of the Black Country twang.