The Christmas and New Year festivities are over, and the January transfer window is open with clubs ready for business. But before managers panic about overspending on a mid-season deal, we’ve picked out an entire team that can be signed for free.
And with seemingly everyone from Bournemouth in ninth downwards yet to be assured of survival, many a boss might just feel a freebie could be the answer they need.
A level-head and Premier League experience can prove crucial in the second half of the campaign.
So, let’s begin with an international goalkeeper…
The former Liverpool and Coventry goalkeeper did join Bury in the summer, but left shortly after, requesting time away from football.
Now six months on, could a team in need tempt Kirkland back into action for the latter half of the campaign?
With over 600 appearances to his name, Lescott certainly knows his way around a football pitch.
An injury ended his time with AEK Athens, but now back in England, he could still do a job for someone at the wrong end of the table.
Similarly, if it’s experience a club is after then few come better equipped than Sylvain Distin.
He may be 39, but Eddie Howe saw fit to bring him in at Bournemouth last season to help stabilise the Cherries in the top-flight.
At 30, Steven Taylor is one of the youngest freebies going, and can call upon over 250 appearances for Newcastle.
Taylor was most recently with the Portland Timbers in MLS, but has been a free agent since last month.
While the other free defenders on this list bring stability, Kieran Richardson can bring the pace and energy.
Like Taylor, Richardson was playing regular football until a month ago, and at 32 it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him back in the game soon.
Moving into midfield and under-fire Premier League managers could do a lot worse than land powerhouse Michael Essien.
The former Chelsea star was most recently in action with Panathinaikos in Greece, and having only just turned 34, should still have enough of that famous stamina in the tank.
Having never quite got the hang of the pronunciation, Premier League commentators will be quietly hoping Raul Meireles doesn’t return this month.
But the 33-year-old spent three years between Liverpool and Chelsea, in addition to 73 caps for Portugal, and would surely appeal to a number of clubs.
Counting West Ham and Aston Villa among his former employers, and at 32, there’s still life in Reo-Coker yet.
And it’s arguably a team like the Hammers who could use a steady midfield hand right now.
Another man with years left in him, 30-year-old Charles N’Zogbia still has the quality which could save a team from relegation.
His attitude could be a sticking point, but for the right manager, there is a hero in waiting here.
A cult hero in the Premier League, Berbatov would be a welcome returnee.
The Bulgarian has been linked with a move to Swansea, and with pace having never been part of his repertoire, the fact that he’s 35 should have little impact.
Club loyalty isn’t his thing, but Emmanuel Adebayor can still be a nuisance for Premier League defenders.
Having scored for four Premier League clubs, the 32-year-old Togolese striker knows where the net is, and that could make all the difference come May.
And we’ve even prepared a free agent substitute bench…
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing