There have been any number of excellent free transfers or ‘Bosmans’ made over the years. Whether it’s Henrik Larsson moving from Celtic to Barcelona, Sol Campbell from Tottenham to Arsenal or Esteban Cambiasso moving from Real Madrid to Inter Milan, it’s clear that you don’t always have to pay over the odds for talented players. Sometimes you just need to sit things out, wait for the opportune moment and strike when the time’s right. With the summer transfer window fast approaching and a number of big names approaching the end of their contracts, the time may well be right for a bit of poaching. We here at Thisisfutbol.com have collated the seven best footballers available on a free transfer this summer. It’s all just further evidence that the best things in life are free.
Yes, he may be gaining in age, but he’s one of small group of footballers who have at least 50 international goals to their name – that’s genuine pedigree for you. The German international has been a vital part of Bayern Munich’s side for the last three years but his contract is set to end in the summer and there are sure to be a host of teams from the Premier League and Europe looking to earn his signature. Despite his prominence in Germany Miroslav has found himself edged out of Bayern’s side thanks to a string of frustrating injuries and the rise and rise of Croatian striker Ivica Olic.
In total, Klose has made 144 appearances for Bayern Munich and netted 52 goals. Whilst that’s not a bad return, it pales in comparison to his International record. Since 2001, Klose has made 108 appearances for Germany and scored 61 goals. That’s more than one goal every two games. Any side that is looking to take him on will surely hope that he can emulate for them the success he’s had with his international side.
Despite injuries problems, Klose remains one of the best finishers in the game. He may be gaining in years, but that hasn’t affected his status as a natural goal-scorer. It’s little surprise then, that Tottenham have been keeping tabs on the German international, given their need for a quick fix upfront. The likes of Everton and Arsenal have all registered their interest and there’s every chance we’ll finally see Klose join the Premier League next season.
Taiwo is an impressive left-back currently plying his trade for Marseille. Given the fact that he’s a full-back, you can already imagine what clubs have registered their interest in acquiring the player. Both Liverpool and Arsenal are thought to be keen, but rather surprisingly it’s AC Milan who are closest to acquiring the Nigerian’s services. In fact, if Italian sports magazine Il Corriere dello Sport is to believed, AC Milan have already reached an agreement with Marsielle and the left-back will join the Rossoneri in the summer.
There’s little doubting Taiwo’s ability and I’m sure he’s got the chutzpah to make it in both the Premier League and Serie A. He’s known for being an attacking left-back, for shooting (and often scoring) from range and for being a set-piece specialist. He was part of the Nigerian team that reached the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship finals only to lose 2-1 against Argentina. He was deemed the tournament’s third best player behind the likes of John Obi Mikel and Lionel Messi, so he’s been keeping with good company.
He’s won many fans since joining Marseille in 2005 and has racked up 173 appearances with the club. It now looks as though his time is up and he’s set to move to fresh pastures. Though it looks likely he’ll end up at AC Milan, there may still be a chance that a Premier League team will look to acquire his services. Given that they would only have to stump up cash for his wages, don’t be surprised if they do.
Marveaux is a marvel not merely for his ability, but also for his utility. He can play in any number of positions in the midfield, but he’s been primarily utilised by his club Rennes as a left-sided midfielder. Unfortunately for Rennes, their contract with the winger runs out at the end of the season and the club are now resigned to losing the services of the talented 24-year-old.
Sylvain has been developing fast over the last couple of seasons – particularly under the tutorage of Rennes manager Frederic Antonetti. In the 2009/10 season Marveaux made 38 appearances and scored 12 goals – not bad figures at all for a winger. These performances brought with them a lot of attention from the Premier League, with both United and Chelsea showing plenty of interest in the French winger last summer.
He’s struggled this season with injuries, but when he has played he’s demonstrated once more why he’s in such high demand throughout Europe. It’s believed that Liverpool are the Premier League outfit closest to winning Marveaux’s signature and he could well be a wonderful signing for the Reds, should he stay fit.
It may feel as though Italian international Andrea Pirlo has been around forever, but he’s not as old as you may think. The playmaker is a mere 31-years-old and has plenty to offer any team that comes in with an offer for his services. It’s somewhat surprising then, that thus far there has been little noise from the Premier League concerning the possible acquisition of Pirlo when his contract with AC Milan ends in the summer. The team thought to be closest to acquiring his services at the moment is Juventus, but it’s still anybody’s guess where the Italian will end up.
By now we know what Pirlo has to offer: peerless creativity, a widJoe range of passing as well as a mastery over deadball situations. He is the ultimate playmaker and would improve any team that he joined. Furthermore, Pirlo has a huge amount of experience and has won a stupendous amount of silverware. He played a vital role in Italy winning the 2006 World Cup, and has won two Champions Leagues with AC Milan, two UEFA Super Cups and the 2004 Serie A title.
The man is a born winner. Pirlo may have struggled this season with injury, but it’s clear that he’s still got what it takes to perform at the top level. Clubs in the Premier League would be foolish to ignore his presence in the transfer window this summer. If he could be persuaded to leave Italy, it would be wonderful to see him in the Premier League.
Another player who appears to be on his way to AC Milan is French centre-half Phillipe Mexes. The 29-year-old is currently a Roma player, but with his contract set to expire, it’s believed that he would favour a move to Milan. He’s spent seven years at the Stadio Olimpico and still speaks in fond terms of the club, but has also told the Italian Press: “I don’t think I will be staying at Roma, I will be going elsewhere… AC Milan? There has been a lot of talk about such a move and I will probably go there.”
Why more interest hasn’t been shown by Premier League clubs in acquiring Mexes is beyond me. He’s a genuinely top quality defender, with an expert reading of the game and a great sense of positioning. There aren’t many players of this calibre available for free and he ought to be snapped up as soon as possible. I’m surprised that Arsenal haven’t registered any interest in Mexes, given their French connection and their defensive troubles this season.
If you’re looking for experience, look no further. Mexes made 133 appearances for French side Auxerre and 183 appearances for Roma. Although Mexes has never really been a regular for his national side, he does have 22 international caps for France and has been receiving more playing time under Laurent Blanc’s new regime. If AC Milan haven’t agreed terms already, I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of European clubs attempt to woo the Frenchman in the summer.
Gary Megson shelled out £8.2m for Elmander in 2008, making the Swedish striker Bolton’s record signing. Now however, with Elmander attracting interest from the likes of Arsenal, Juventus and Fenerbache, Bolton boss Owen Coyle has admitted that the Wanderers will struggle to keep hold of their star player. Coyle recently told The Metro: “When the season ends, we will certainly have one last go at trying to persuade him to sign a new contract… But if there is a club out there in the top bracket that can offer him the lure of Champions League football, then he will do what any player would.”
Although reports have emerged suggesting that Elmander has struggled to adapt to life at Bolton, he has been sporadically brilliant throughout his stay with the Trotters. He was particularly brilliant in the first half of this season, before Daniel Sturridge arrived at the club and took the spotlight away from him. He remains the club’s top-scorer having notched up 10 goals in the Premier League this season – not bad considering he’s been forced to play out wide to accommodate Sturridge.
Where the Swedish International will end up next season is anybody’s guess, but I highly doubt that he’ll remain with Bolton. If there’s genuine interest from the likes of Arsenal and Juventus, they’ll be able to offer Elmander increased wages and Champion’s League football. Whether or not he’s got the quality and ability to make it at a top club, however, remains to be seen.
As is evident from his Twitter, Michael Owen is desperate to make his mark at Manchester United. The 31-year-old striker recently tweeted: “As I’ve already said, don’t know where, don’t know when, but there is an important goal to come from me this season – mark my words!!!,” Unfortunately the games have sailed by and Owen has been unable to make good on his promise. Sad as it is, Owen is ending his Manchester United career just as he started it: not with a bang, but with a whisper.
Owen has had a decent goal-scoring record at every club he’s been with except for Manchester United. At Liverpool he scored 118 goals in 216 appearances. At Real Madrid he converted 13 goals in 36 appearances (many of which were as a substitute and at Newcastle United he scored 26 goals in 71 appearances. Whilst at Old Trafford, however, Owen has been held back both by injuries and a lack of form.
Now that he’s behind Javier Hernandez, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov in the pecking order, there’s every chance that United will not look to renew his contract in the summer. That’s despite Owen’s claims that he “would love to play here longer but I will just have to wait and see what the club say. We’ve not held any talks yet.”He’s been linked with a move back to his old club Liverpool, but I don’t think there’s too much likelihood of that happening. The time may be right for a step-down to a mid-table team where Owen could establish himself as a first-choice striker once more and re-find his feet in the Premier League.
Read more of Harry’s articles at the excellent This is Futbol
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