A brilliant Xl of players who are now available on a free transfer: Dybala…
Former Liverpool, Arsenal and Barcelona players are among the highest-profile free agents currently without a club.
A lot of clubs in Europe’s top five leagues are still struggling financially after a difficult couple of years and they’ll undoubtedly be looking at free agents this summer.
We’ve made an Xl of the best players currently available to sign on a free transfer, arranged in a 4-3-3 formation.
Note: we’ve not included players who are on the brink of joining a new club so that excludes the likes of Paul Pogba, Divock Origi, Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen and Angel Di Maria.
GK: David Ospina
Since leaving Arsenal for Napoli in 2018, Ospina has rebuilt his reputation and kept 39 clean sheets in 103 appearances in all competitions.
Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti wanted the goalkeeper to extend his stay at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, but he looks set to join the fifth club of his senior career.
The 33-year-old had been linked with Real Madrid, Villarreal and Lazio but is reportedly in talks to join Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr, who have offered him a €3.5million-a-year contract.
RB: Dani Alves
The most decorated player in history, Alves returned to Barcelona in November last year on a short-term deal and Xavi reportedly liked his former team-mates’ influence around the training ground.
Despite registering a goal and three assists in 13 La Liga appearances in the second half of 2021-22, he wasn’t offered a contract extension as Barcelona look to try and sign Cesar Azpilicueta.
Admittedly, the 39-year-old looked his age when coming up against young wingers like Vinicius Jr and won’t be able to start every game next season.
But the right-back is still a regular in the Brazil squad and will be determined to prove his worth ahead of the World Cup later this year.
Dani Alves hammers in a 4th for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid! 💥
It's just like old times at Camp Nou today 🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/hUOSHyIwNZ
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) February 6, 2022
CB: Alessio Romagnoli
After joining AC Milan from Roma in 2015, Romagnoli went on to make 247 appearances for the club and recently captained them to their first Serie A title since 2011.
But the centre-back lost his place in the starting Xl following Fikayo Tomori’s arrival and his time at the San Siro has come to an end after he failed to agree to new terms.
Fulham, who recently won promotion to the Premier League, were seriously interested in the defender and offered him a contract. But he’s reportedly rejected their approach and is keeping his options open amid reported interest from Juventus and Lazio.
CB: Dan-Axel Zagadou
The youngest player on this list, Zagadou came through the Paris Saint-Germain academy before joining Borussia Dortmund in 2017.
He’s long been regarded as one of the hottest defensive talents in Europe but a series of injury problems derailed his time at Dortmund, limiting the centre-back to just 67 Bundesliga appearances.
Manchester United have previously been sounded out as a possible destination for the 23-year-old and OGC Nice have now expressed interest in signing him.
“I will see with my entourage and my agents what offers are on the table, and then we’ll make a decision together,” he recently told beIN Sports.
“A return to Ligue 1? Of course. I left to go abroad very young, so it would be good for me to go back to France. I’m not putting up any barriers to a return.”
After picking one legendary Brazilian full-back, we might as well include another. And no, we’re not talking about a 49-year-old Roberto Carlos.
Marcelo spent 16 years at Real Madrid and surpassed Paco Gento to become the most successful player in their history, winning 25 trophies at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The 34-year-old is yet to make a decision on his future but has seven offers on the table as he is wanted in France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Brazil.
Former Madrid striker Ronaldo, who is now president at Real Valladolid, reportedly wants to sign both Marcelo and Alves for the newly promoted La Liga side.
Now that would be fun to watch.
CM: Cesc Fabregas
Fabregas had a disastrous three-and-a-half years at Monaco, making just 54 Ligue 1 appearances due to a series of injury problems.
But the 35-year-old isn’t ready to hang up his boots just yet and his technical ability and passing range would make him a smart signing for quite a few Premier League sides.
“I’m looking for a fresh start. My head needs a fresh start elsewhere,” Fabregas told So Foot. “To be honest, I received a couple of phone calls in the last couple of weeks from former managers to see whether I was open to joining them as a coach.
“But this year has been so bad that I can’t end like this, not after having constructed this career. I want to continue playing. I’m grateful for the career I’ve had, but I don’t feel like it’s over. I’m open to anything, I just want to have fun.
“The place doesn’t really matter, it’s more my head that counts. When I’m fit I feel really good, when I’m training with my team-mates I don’t feel any different when it comes to passion for the game.”
Patrick Vieira, we’re looking at you.
CM: Christian Eriksen
Having recovered from his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020, Eriksen’s free transfer to Brentford proved to be one of the stories of the 2021-22 season.
The Denmark international signed a six-month contract with the Premier League side and proved that he still has quality in abundance, registering a goal and four assists in 11 appearances.
While Brentford boss Thomas Frank retains hope that the 30-year-old will ultimately extend his stay at the club, he also has an offer from Manchester United and is yet to make a decision.
A former Golden Boy winner, Isco joined Real Madrid in 2013 and won three La Liga titles and five Champions Leagues during his nine years at the Bernabeu.
But he’s not quite lived up to expectations at Madrid and his influence has waned considerably in recent years, starting just 13 games in all competitions over the last two seasons.
Despite his lack of football, Isco remains an incredibly talented player and could be worth a punt for any European side that needs to add a bit of creativity to their midfield.
Jose Mourinho reportedly wants to bring the 30-year-old to Roma, and he has also been linked with Real Betis, a move which would see him reunited with former Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini.
— LaLigaTV (@LaLigaTV) April 18, 2021
RW: Ousmane Dembele
While Barcelona could still re-sign Dembele, they currently look set to recoup £0 of the £135.5million that they agreed to pay for him in 2017.
The France international has undoubtedly failed to justify that price tag but finally started to produce his best form under Xavi in 2021-22, registering 13 assists in 21 La Liga appearances.
He’s reportedly keen to stay at Camp Nou but doesn’t want to sign on for the terms currently being offered. That’s hardly surprising as Barcelona’s latest offer is reportedly lower than the one they proposed in December 2021.
Chelsea are looking to take advantage of the situation and Dembele has previously worked under Thomas Tuchel during his solitary season at Borussia Dortmund.
ST: Luis Suarez
One of the greatest strikers of all time, Suarez boasts a glittering CV that you don’t normally get from a free agent.
While his second season at Atletico Madrid didn’t go as planned, the Uruguay international showed everyone what he’s capable of in 2020-21 by scoring 21 league goals as Diego Simeone’s side became champions.
Atalanta, Aston Villa and Inter Miami have all been linked with the striker, but he’s now in talks with River Plate and could ply his trade in South America for the first time since leaving Nacional in 2006.
“[Suarez] is an elite player, who is currently recovering from a knee injury,” River Plate boss Marcelo Gallardo said. “We made the attempt, he has the will, enthusiasm, it’s good.
“If he hadn’t shown enthusiasm, we wouldn’t be here waiting. It will be a decision and when it is possible we will see if it is feasible. You don’t have to lie to people or generate a lot of enthusiasm.”
LUIS SUAREZ MAKES IT 2-1! 🔴⚪
What a dramatic turnaround for Atleti and they control their own title destiny again! 😱 pic.twitter.com/n1DTMMumDt
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) May 16, 2021
LW: Paulo Dybala
A former Manchester United and Tottenham target, Dybala was valued at around £70million in the summer of 2019 but is now available on a free transfer.
He looked set to sign a new five-year contract with Juventus last year but the Old Lady went back on an agreement amid concerns over his fitness problems and elected to call time on his seven years at the Allianz Stadium.
While the Argentina international hasn’t lived up to the hype that once surrounded him, he still scored over 100 goals for Juventus and, at 28, his peak years could yet be ahead of him.
“I am quite calm, the people who I work with are taking care,” Dybala told ESPN. “In Italy, I am very comfortable. I would still like to know other leagues like Premier League, LaLiga… but I’m happy in Italy.”
Inter Milan are reportedly leading the race for his signature but a deal isn’t official and other clubs could still swoop in and sign the 28-year-old.
“We met with his agents, we always explore opportunities – but to find full agreements there must be the right conditions on both sides,” Inter CEO Beppe Marotta said recently.
“There is nothing completed for Dybala at the moment.”
Substitutes: Sergio Asenjo, Serge Aurier, Jav Martinez, Joao Moutinho, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Adnan Januzaj, Federico Bernardeschi, Edinson Cavani, Dries Mertens, Andrea Belotti.