Friday 26 December 2014

The Premier League's free transfer XI

Published 14/05/2014 | 16:42

John Terry, left, has agreed a new Chelsea contract, but the futures of Ashley Cole, centre, and Frank Lampard, right, are still to be clarified
John Terry, left, has agreed a new Chelsea contract, but the futures of Ashley Cole, centre, and Frank Lampard, right, are still to be clarified

Players running down their contracts and being available to a new club for free is nothing new.

But this summer there is a particularly talented bunch up for grabs for absolutely nothing.

The announcement earlier this week that Rio Ferdinand was not being offered a new contract by Manchester United added yet another stellar name to an already glittering line-up.

So here we take a look at the best team available on Bosman free transfers and analyse where they might be playing their football come August. Gone for a 5-4-1 formation...

1. Kaspar Schmeichel

Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is believed to be a target for Arsenal. The Denmark international is out of contract and would be available on a free transfer, if he does not pen a new deal at City.

2. Bacary Sagna

It would be hard to say that Bacary Sagna was the most prominent man out of contract at Arsenal this summer – that accolade would belong to his manager – but the full-back’s future has been a lingering issue throughout the season.

Sagna has always wanted a new three-year deal but the traditional policy at Arsenal is to offer just one-year extensions to players in their 30s. The club have eventually relented and offered Sagna a longer deal but the fear at the Emirates is that he has already decided to leave.

Manchester City would certainly like him, although he might not be first choice, while there is the prospect of more money on offer from Internazionale and several Turkish clubs.

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3. Ashley Cole

While John Terry has been given a contract extension by Chelsea, Ashley Cole has not yet and he looked like a man saying goodbye when he tearfully walked around Stamford Bridge after the last home game of the season against Norwich.

Having ended his own international career after Roy Hodgson left him out of the World Cup squad, Cole’s career is at a crossroads.

Jose Mourinho has said that he hopes Cole stays but the club might not see it that way – he is no longer a first choice – so his eight-year stay might be over, with big offers likely from England and abroad.

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4. Rio Ferdinand

Both halves of Manchester United’s famous central defence for the past eight years are leaving this summer.

Nemanja Vidic is off to Italy to play for Internazionale while Rio Ferdinand was told at the weekend that United would not be renewing his contract.

Queen’s Park Rangers, should they come up, are managed by Ferdinand’s old mentor Harry Redknapp, while even bigger teams like Arsenal could be tempted.

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5. Joleon Lescott

After Manchester City’s title-clinching 2-0 win over West Ham United, Joleon Lescott confirmed that it was a “great way to go out” after five years at the club.

He was close to a move away from the Etihad Stadium back in January, with West Ham United and Turkish side Besiktas both interested, only for City to fail to land his replacement in Eliaquim Mangala from Porto.

However, Lescott is likely to attract similar interest this summer.  West Ham, Newcastle United and Aston Villa would all be keen on someone with his extensive experience, with 26 England caps and two Premier League winners’ medals.

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6. Patrice Evra

With Ferdinand and Vidic both leaving, it remains to be seen whether United can afford to lose another defender with almost a decade of experience at the club, but it is not clear yet whether Evra will be retained.

Incoming manager Louis van Gaal will decide whether to keep the veteran left-back, who turns 33 tomorrow.

If he does not then the Frenchman will have a good offer from Monaco, whom he left for United but who are now very rich, as well as from Internazionale, where he could team up again with Vidic.

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7. Gareth Barry

The midfielder’s move to Everton last summer was on loan and only now, at the end of his excellent season at Goodison Park, he is a free agent. Roberto Martinez, of course, would love to retain the veteran who impressed with his reading and managing of the game, but they are not certain to be able to do that.

Barry was paid close to £100,000 per week last season and Everton’s budget is not huge, while there is likely to be interest in Barry from Major League Soccer, as well as from some of the Premier League’s biggest sides.

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8. Frank Lampard

As with Terry and Cole, Lampard’s Chelsea deal expires at the end of the season and he is likely to follow Terry in signing a new deal at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard is not the dynamic presence in midfield that he once was, and he started only 20 Premier League games this season.

But as his inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad demonstrated, his experience and presence are invaluable and he is more than worth having around. That said, if he does not renew at Chelsea, there would surely be offers from abroad, not least from long-time suitors LA Galaxy.

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9. Thomas Ince

Inter Milan are going back for free agent Tom Ince this summer. The winger, 22, opted for a loan to Crystal Palace from Blackpool in January, but is now weighing up where he will move permanently.
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10. Joe Cole

Joe Cole has not enjoyed as many opportunities to play on his return to West Ham United as he might have liked – starting just six league games this season – and his contract is up this summer.

Of course, if Sam Allardyce is removed he might be replaced by a manager more sympathetic to Cole but the chances are that the 32-year-old will not be playing at the Boleyn Ground next season.

He is doing his B Licence coaching badge alongside Matt Taylor at West Ham’s Rush Green facility, starting this week, but it remains to be seen where he will play next season.

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11. Marouane Chamakh

The Moroccan striker has completed a one-year deal at Crystal Palace that could barely have gone much better.

Since he was entrusted with a role as a withdrawn striker by Tony Pulis in December, he has been excellent, scoring five goals and helping to drag Palace out of the relegation zone and into safety.

Chamakh will be discussing his future with the club soon but he said last week that agreeing a new deal at Palace was his “priority”, after building an excellent rapport with the fans and playing his best football since his arrival in England from France in 2010. If not, he would like to stay in the Premier League.

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