Where would Free Agents XI finish in the PL?

A jaw-dropping XI of Premier League stars who have been released this summer

It’s June, and we are betwixt seasons, we haven’t quite arrived at the summer tournaments yet, and none of us really know what the hell to do with ourselves.

This period of time is the unfulfilling filling in the football season sandwich, and all we really want is that good, good bread.

Yet, here we are, so we might as well make the most of it and take this opportunity to explore some of the lesser talked-about facets of the game.

For example, we’ve just had a good look through the lists of released players from every Premier League club, and it turns out you could put a strong XI of newly free agents together if you wanted to.

Here’s our XI of newly released players from England’s top tier, starting in goal with a man who might yet have a future ahead of him.

GK: Loris Karius

We know—Loris Karius is a cursed man—but, genuinely, the German goalie has a future somewhere in the game.

Karius is 30, which isn’t all that old in goalkeeper years, and, no matter what anyone says, he’s obviously talented—you simply don’t make it to a Champions League Final without having something about you.

Karius was concussed by Sergio Ramos’ errant elbow soon before that 2018 Final went awry for him and Liverpool, and, from an outside perspective, the ordeal seemed to affect him mentally.

After a couple of loan spells abroad, Karius signed for Newcastle where he only played two competitive games—one of them the League Cup final last year—but despite two poor results for the Magpies, Karius didn’t put a foot wrong.

He seems happier, and his hair is looking fire. Someone give the guy a chance.

CB: Thiago Silva

One of the greatest ever to do it. Have the legs gone? Listen—yes, maybe, perhaps. We’d still have him as a ringer for Planet Footballs 7s FC if he fancied it, though. The head is there.

The football brain never leaves you—only gets better over time. Thiago Silva is our captain—no questions asked.

CB: Joel Matip

The German-born Cameroonian tallboy has been released by Liverpool, with Virgil Van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate, Jarrell Quansah, and Joe Gomez all vying for a spot at the centre of the Reds’ defence.

Matip is 32 years old—a few years left in the tank yet. 

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CB: Raphael Varane

The 31-year-old was at the heart of a dynastical Real Madrid defence for a decade but, as it turns out, nobody is immune to the curse of post-Alex Ferguson Manchester United.

Fergie quite obviously made a deal with the devil for all that success, and, now, all who pass through that club are doomed to misery.

Varane struggled for minutes last season, and has been released from his Old Trafford bindings. We’re certain he has a late-career swan song in him before it’s all over.

RM: Willian

Willian has been a divisive figure since leaving Chelsea—derided and lauded in almost equal measure.

There’s no denying that, when he’s in the mood, the Brazilian winger can still turn on the sauce when needed, though.

Willian departed Fulham at the end of his contract, this summer, and is available on a free.

CM: Thiago Alcantara

He may be injury-prone, and he may only have played one competitive game for Liverpool in 2023-24, but Thiago is one of the most technically gifted footballers of the modern era.

If he can stay fit, the former Spanish international is going to make a cracking free signing for some lucky team.

CM: Mohamed Elneny

Arsenal’s Pyramid Pirlo spent eight years with The Gunners (including a season-long loan to Besiktas), and became a cult hero with the North Londoners’ fanbase.

At the age of 31, and with over 100 international caps for Egypt, plenty of clubs will be considering offering a contract to Elneny this summer.

Chelsea spent £115million on this midfielder in 2023.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every player that broke the Premier League transfer record?

LM: Ivan Perisic

The 35-year-old Croatian legend is long of head, long in the tooth, and has a list of footballing honours to match.

His country awarded Perisic the Order of Duke Branimir for Croatia’s exploits in the 2018 World Cup, in which Ivan played a massive part, haring down the wing with number 4 inexplicably on his back.

Tottenham let Perisic go at the end of the 2023-24 season, but we reckon the old fella still has plenty to offer.

CAM: Dele Alli

Dele just needs to be at a club where he’s appreciated, loved, and made to feel special. The talent is there. The talent is so obviously there. If there’s a club out there willing to spend the time and effort to give Dele a bit of TLC, the rewards will be plentiful, we’re sure of it.

CAM: Adam Lallana

The England man has been helping out with coaching at Brighton for a while now, perhaps hinting at what the future holds for him.

Despite that, he still made 25 league appearances for the Seagulls in 2023-24, so perhaps the 36-year-old veteran will decide to keep playing for a little while yet. James Milner is still going, and he’s got a year on Lallana.

ST: Anthony Martial

Martial had fallen out of favour at Manchester United, with Alejandro Garnacho, Marcus Rashford, and Antony taking up places on the wings, and Rasmus Hojlund establishing himself as the main striker.

Martial was released at the end of the 2023-24 season, and is still just 28 years old. If there’s a team out there willing to figure out what the Frenchman’s best position is, they may find their gamble paying off next season.