Manchester United's goalkeeper David de Gea celebrates at the end of the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Everton, at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, April 8, 2023.

A ridiculous XI of players still available for free right now: De Gea, Ramos, Dembele…

We’re midway through the 2023 summer transfer window and there are still a number of loose ends yet to be tied up. The likes of Kylian Mbappe, Rasmus Hojlund and Harry Kane continue to dominate the gossip columns, while there tons of high-profile stars currently unattached and weighing up their options.

There are still some genuine superstars available on the market after they left their clubs at the end of last season, from Premier League veterans to World Cup winners.

We’ve put together a full XI of big names that are currently available for a free transfer.

GK: David de Gea

Manchester United’s No.1 was one of the top-earning players in all of Europe after signing his last bumper deal, but it increasingly became clear his next contract would involve a considerable pay-cut.

The will-he-will-wont-he saga rumbled on throughout last season and continued until the summer, when De Gea eventually put an end to speculation by taking to Twitter to announce his departure after 12 years at Manchester United.

The former Spain international departs having lifted the Golden Glove award for the most clean sheets in the Premier League last term. But there were also some costly, high-profile errors and his unwillingness to sweep never looked a natural fit under Erik ten Hag.

It would be no surprise if De Gea takes the Saudi cash, because it’s difficult to imagine where he’ll end up in Europe. The big three in Spain are all well-covered between the sticks. Serie A, maybe? Watch this space.

RB: Reggie Cannon

We would’ve included Matt Doherty here after Atletico Madrid rejected the chance to extend his contract after his bizarre half-season spell in the Spanish capital. But according to reports, a return to Wolves is imminent so we’ve decided to look elsewhere and think a little more creatively.

Blessed with one of the greatest names in football, Reggie Cannon has 28 caps for the USA and experience of European football after three seasons with Boavista.

He’s left the Primeira Liga club after a row over unpaid wages and will have no shortage of suitors. It wouldn’t be a shock to see the 25-year-old return to MLS.

CB: Yerry Mina

Fulham have been strongly linked with the physically imposing Colombian and you’d expect to see him lining up for one Premier League club or another in 2023-24.

“It has been an honour to have belonged to Everton and wherever I go I will be cheering for sure. You are in my heart,” Mina wrote in a statement after departing Goodison Park in June.

CB: Sergio Ramos

The ridiculously decorated centre-back endured a couple of injury-hit years but he recovered to feature regularly for PSG as they won yet another Ligue 1 title last term. But he waved goodbye alongside Lionel Messi after his two-year deal expired.

Given the 37-year-old’s Instagram page has resembled a Rocky training montage in recent weeks, retirement is evidently the last thing on his mind.

One last payday in Saudi Arabia or the United States appears most likely.

LB: Jean-Kevin Duverne

An unglamorous name for an unglamorous position, Duverne won’t tear up any trees but he’s a proven player in Europe’s top leagues.

The versatile defender, 26, has made over 100 appearances in Ligue 1 for Brest but left the Stade Francis Le Ble after the club’s midtable finish last term.

DM: Tiemoue Bakayoko

Admittedly one of Chelsea’s worst-ever signings, Bakayoko’s career has stalled considerably with a number of underwhelming loans away from Stamford Bridge in recent years.

But he’s still only 28, showed his quality in Monaco’s unforgettable Ligue 1 title win and run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2016-17, and wasn’t entirely useless for Chelsea. Bakayoko actually made 43 appearances in his debut season and played 90 minutes as Antonio Conte’s Blues beat Manchester United 1-0 in the 2018 FA Cup final. He even played an (admittedly peripheral) role in AC Milan’s 2021-22 Scudetto triumph.

It will be interesting to see if he can rekindle his career in a more settled environment. Our money’s on Ligue 1 or Serie A.

CM: Daichi Kamada

The most valuable free agent in world football right now according to Transfermarkt, Kamada will represent a coup for whichever club wins the race for his signature this summer. You’d expect it to be an ambitious club that can offer European football.

The 26-year-old Japan international was sensational over the course of his six years with Eintracht Frankfurt. He notched nine goals and seven assists in 32 Bundesliga appearances last term and has been linked with Roma, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid.

CM: Jesse Lingard

It’s been a weird few years for Lingard, eh?

Having fallen down the pecking order for club and country, the Manchester United academy graduate was briefly sensational in a half-season stint at West Ham back in 2020-21. But things stagnated once again after returning to his parent club, and he made a negligible impact over the course of his lucrative one-year deal at Nottingham Forest – which he signed after turning down an offer to return to the Hammers.

David Moyes has another opportunity to sign Lingard now, but that ship appears to have sailed. It’s anyone’s guess what’s next for the 30-year-old but he can’t be too picky given how dramatically his stock has fallen.

Jesse Lingard of Nottingham Forest during the Premier League match against Tottenham at the City Ground, Nottingham, UK. 28th August 2022.

QUIZ: Can you name all 29 of Nottingham Forest’s signings in 2022-23?

FWR: Adama Traore

Just 10 goals and 18 assists in 194 Premier League appearances is testament to Traore’s lack of end product. We have no doubt that if you support a team that the winger plays for, he’s one of the most frustrating players in the world. Unfortunately, there’s sound logic in Wolves cutting their losses and releasing him.

And yet, if you’re a neutral, he’s absolutely dynamite. We’d be gutted if he went to the Saudi Pro League. Hopefully there’s a Premier League manager out there that will back themselves to finally get the most out of the dazzlingly explosive 27-year-old.

ST: Moussa Dembele

The French forward was among the standout players of Celtic’s recent imperial era, and he went on register an excellent tally of 56 goals in 129 Ligue 1 appearances for Lyon.

He scored just three goals after getting usurped by returning hero Alexandre Lacazette last term, but he notched 21 league goals as Lyon’s main man the season prior. Everton and Steven Gerrard’s Al-Ettifaq are reportedly among his suitors.

FWL: Wilfried Zaha

According to the gossip columns, Zaha has spent the summer weighing up his many options. The attacker has undoubtedly been the standout player for his boyhood club Crystal Palace over the course of their last nine years in the Premier League and at his best you couldn’t shake the feeling he ought to have been playing at a higher level.

At the age of 30, this transfer window represents one of the biggest decisions of his career. Does he take the contract of a lifetime in Saudi Arabia or does he finally take up the option to play for a club that can offer him a chance to play in Europe?

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