10 of the best free agents available to sign straight away on FM19
There’s no Taribo West-standard free transfer available on the latest edition of Football Manager – but there are still plenty of useful signings you can make for absolutely nothing.
West was a guaranteed success as your first signing on Championship Manager 01/02, and while there are no free agents on FM19 with quite his level of talent, anyone taking on a club in the bottom half of Premier League or Championship can still improve their squads without spending a penny.
Here are 10 of the best players you will want to consider.
He might not be available to play until December, when his ban comes to an end, but nevertheless it’s worth revitalising the career of Nasri.
The former Arsenal and Manchester City player is only 31, meaning there’s resale value in the Frenchman even if he doesn’t prove good enough for the Premier League.
He should, mind. Nasri boasts dribbling, vision, technique and flair stats all around the 15 mark, making him a good attacking option for a mid-table Premier League team.
His strength (8) and work rate (7) could let you down, which is why it’s best to play Nasri in a trequartista role.
The former England full-back is one of the most complete footballers available on a free transfer at the beginning of FM19.
Johnson might lack stamina (7) and passing (10), but otherwise he’s (pretty much) still got the range of attributes required to function well for a Premier League relegation candidate – at both ends of the pitch.
But Johnson is even better for Championship clubs in need of some experience and technical quality in the final third. His crossing (13) and dribbling (13) stats will certainly win you points in tight matches at the top end of England’s second tier.
Just make sure you have a decent second choice right-back; Johnson won’t be able to cope with two games a week.
For a Championship defence that lacks the intelligence or leadership that comes with age, two-time Premier League winner Huth is an excellent addition.
Huth brings consistency and a stoic sense of resilience, with strong attributes ranging from headers (17) and tackling (17) to concentration (15) and strength (17).
He makes a solid back-up centre-half for Premier League sides, too, mainly because his pace (11) and stamina (11) are just about good enough for the sharper minds of England’s top flight.
The 33-year-old will quickly become a dominant figure in the dressing room, and it always helps to have one of your own signings at the top of the hierarchy.
Since FM19 was released in October – long after the majority of players had found a new club in the real world – most free transfers in the game come with a significant caveat: they’re too old to stay at the top for long.
But 21-year-old Gnoukouri most certainly has time on his hands, and the defensive midfielder should improve a lot if given game time in the Football League.
The Ivorian has great passing (14), technique (13) and natural fitness (17), three very important traits for a ball-playing defensive midfielder.
Gnoukouri is a real athlete, with as many technical and mental traits as physical ones; with high work rate (14) and decisions (13), he’ll settle in quickly, too.
A prematurely aged player, former Manchester United forward Rossi still has the technical ability but little of the other stuff.
His finishing, dribbling and vision are all 15, but his strength (7), stamina (8) and natural fitness (5) betray how often Rossi is on the treatment table.
He’s unlikely to start games at Premier League level, but as a hard-working player (14) with determination (17), Rossi is an excellent super-sub.
The 32-year-old Frenchman Tremoulinas is another all-rounder full-back that can walk straight into a Premier League team, and at a fraction of the wages demanded by another left-back on this list, Patrice Evra.
In fact, Tremoulinas, who can also play at right-back, is probably the most talented footballer on this list.
Passing, dribbling, technique, crossing, decisions, teamwork, pace, stamina, agility and work rate; there’s no way Tremoulinas can be this good in real life or else he wouldn’t be entering his second year without a club.
Djilobodji is a fairly decent defender at Championship level, particularly given that squad rotation is important in a 46-game season.
The 29-year-old should be entering his prime years, and indeed some of his best stats will improve with enough game time.
Djilobodji has pace, natural fitness, jumping reach and balance all 15 or above, reflecting the fact his physical attributes are considerably more assured than his technical ones.
Mistakes and erratic performances are likely, but the former Sunderland centre-back can certainly do a job.
Don’t let his age, or high wages, put you off. Even at 37, Evra still has outstanding statistics across the board, ensuring he will do a decent job at left-back for the majority of teams in the Premier League.
Of particular note are his teamwork (15), natural fitness (17) and leadership (15) attributes.
There really isn’t any downside to signing a player without a single weak point, even if those numbers will dramatically decline over the course of the first 12 months. A short contract is advised.
Another former Sunderland player, Ndong was sacked by the club in the summer after failing to turn up for pre-season training.
In all honesty, it’s best to avoid signing the 24-year-old unless none of the other defensive midfielders on this list agree to a deal, because Ndong doesn’t have many standout stats.
His best are tackling (15), work rate (17), stamina (15) and pace (15); the Gabon international is fairly similar in playing style to Djilobodji, although as a ‘ball-winning midfielder’ his lopsided talents are more useful – in this stripped-down role – than the centre-back’s.
The only goalkeeper on this list is the 35-year-old released by Crystal Palace in the summer.
Cavalieri won’t exactly pull up any trees, but it can be difficult to find a reliable second-choice goalkeeper who won’t moan about being on the bench (and won’t take a chunk out of your transfer budget).
The Brazilian is average across the board with mostly 12s and 13s, but his agility (15), one-on-ones (14), reflexes (14), rushing out (14) and leadership (14) are all commendable.
By Alex Keble