You'll be shocked this lot are playing in the Turkish Super Lig

11 forgotten Premier League stars you won’t believe your club can sign for free this summer

Familiar faces from Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea are among the free agents that your club might be able to sign for free this summer.

The 2023-24 campaign is almost wrapped up, which is traditionally the kind of point on your Football Manager save that you start planning for next season and start browsing which players are out of contract.

Here are 11 forgotten Premier League footballers who are set to become free agents at the end of the season.


Yes, Nani is still going.

Since leaving Manchester United nine years ago, he’s represented – deep breaths – Fenerbahce, Valencia, Lazio, Sporting, Orlando City, Venezia, Melbourne Victory and Adana Demirspor. He’s low on the lookout for the next stamp on his well-worn passport.

If you’re one of Fabrizio Romano’s many million Twitter followers, you might’ve seen the news that the 37-year-old winger has terminated with Demirspor and is a free agent this summer. Watch this space.

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Michy Batshuayi

We’re starting to fear that Batshuayi will never top the moment he celebrated a World Cup goal against England by smashing the ball into his own face off the post.

Although he did attempt a spinning fly-kick against a fan during a recent Turkish derby riot, which isn’t far off.

This season, the former Chelsea forward has notched 12 goals in Turkish Super Lig appearances for Fenerbahce, who look set to be pipped to the title by Galatasaray – despite notching 93 points from 36 matches so far. Arsenal and Man City, eat your heart out.

We’d love to see him back in the Premier League. Nottingham Forest, we’re looking at you.

Cenk Tosun

Big Cenk has spent the past couple of seasons back at Besiktas, where he’s notched six goals and six assists in 32 Super Lig appearances this season.

Given his less-than-stellar record at Everton, we can’t see a Premier League club coming in for him – even if he is only 32. Another club in Turkey looks likely, or – at a push – one of the more obscure clubs in the Saudi Pro League.

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Nicolas Pepe

Pepe’s contract at Arsenal actually ran until this summer, but it was deemed in everyone’s best interest to terminate it and allow the Ivorian a fresh start elsewhere.

“What I can say about him as a person is that he’s a phenomenal boy. He tried really hard,” explained Mikel Arteta.

“It is not his fault the amount of money that we paid at the time and that’s it. When things are not working on, you have to move on.

“There’s no point trying when something is not working and that decision has been made and I think it benefits all parties.”

A move to Trabzonspor hasn’t exactly reignited his career. He’s scored five goals in 18 appearances this season and looks set to depart when his one-year deal expires.

A £72million signing just five years ago. Bonkers.

Joshua King

What, you think we just opened a Transfermarkt tab featuring the contracts expiring in the Turkish Super Lig this summer? What do you take us for? We’re serious journalists here. Ahem.

The Norwegian winger has only played a fringe role at title chasers Fenerbahce this season and doesn’t appear likely to stick around in Istanbul.

We’d like to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer back in the dugout somewhere next season, finally able to unite with his compatriot. A return to Molde? Who says no?

Lazar Markovic

Ah, Markovic. Still kicking around to remind us of pre-Klopp banter-era Liverpool.

Fulham were the last club to take on the one-time wonderkid and succeed where Liverpool failed, but it’s safe to say he didn’t fulfil his potential at Craven Cottage, either.

Who knows where he’ll go after his release from Gaziantep this summer. He’s already made the romantic return to Partizan. *throws dart at map of Europe* Bari? Sure, why not.

Mario Balotelli

Rejoice. We’re finally at the end of the Turkish Super Lig section, and where better to end than the poster boy for almost-superstars that never quite fulfilled their potential.

The Italian striker has undertaken a proper journeyman path since his mid-career resurgence in the late 2010s with Nice and Marseille. He’s turned out for Brescia, Monza, Sion and Adana Demirspor (twice) – maintaining a decent enough one-in-three kind of strike rate.

But he looks set to leave Demirspor, alongside Nani, for a second time. He was sent off in his last appearance for an off-the-ball incident. Course he was.

Adana Demirspor's Mario Balotelli during the Turkish Super Lig match v Kasimpasa at Kasımpasa Stadium on April 17, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name all 11 clubs Mario Balotelli has played for in his career?

Alireza Jahanbakhsh

It’s six years since Brighton signed the Iranian winger for a club-record fee and you stuck him straight in your FPL team, swearing he’d be your difference-maker. Oops.

After three underwhelming years and one absolute wondergoal, Alireza returned to the Eredivisie, signing for Feyenoord. He hasn’t been quite as prolific as he was during his prime at AZ Alkmaar, but he’s been decent enough under Arne Slot, winning an Eredivisie title and the KNVB Cup.

“We’ll see what the future brings. I would like to stay in Europe as long as possible,” he says.

“We have the World Cup in two years. I want to stay at this high level because mentally and physically I see that I can stay a few more years, gain even more experience and that I can perform.

Mathew Ryan

Another Brighton old boy, Ryan was (is?) a decent enough ‘keeper for the Seagulls, making over a hundred appearances for the club as they established themselves in the Premier League.

But a forgettable loan to Arsenal was probably a level too high and he’s spent the last few years going from Spain (Real Sociedad) to Denmark (FC Copenhagen) to the Netherlands (AZ Alkmaar).

His contract at AZ expires this summer. At just 32, he’s not ready for the A-League scrapheap just yet. Championship clubs could do a lot worse.

David de Gea

Okay, we’re stretching the definition of “forgotten” here. De Gea made over 400 Premier League appearances for Manchester United and picked up the Golden Glove award only last season.

But it’s weird how quickly everyone’s kind of just moved on from a ‘keeper who was widely regarded as one of the best in the world during his pomp, while still capable of producing spectacular saves even after his decline. And he’s still only 33.

Having spent a year out of the game, De Gea surely can’t wait any longer if he’s to get back between the sticks. He’ll surely either sign for a club this summer or hang up his gloves for good.


Consider this one your bonus ball.

The Brazilian won’t be available for a free transfer this summer, but his lucrative contract with Shanghai Port finally expires at the end of the Chinese Super League season in November.

He’s been in China for seven years now but is still only 32. He doesn’t need the money. We hope to see him back for a swansong at a mid-sized club in a major European league. Real Betis, Atalanta, Lyon – somewhere like that. Ambitious, eccentric chairmen playing IRL Football Manager – make it happen, please.