The transfer window for the upcoming 2019/20 footballing season is in full swing with many big-money moves already completed. However, the hidden gems of any transfer window are its free agents: the players whose contracts expire every year at the beginning of July.
Italian champions Juventus recently acquired two of the most talented midfielders in world football, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey and Paris Saint-Germain’s Adrien Rabiot, as free agents after their contracts were not renewed by their respective clubs.
Here, we take a look at six of the biggest names in world football who are currently available as free agents this summer.
Dani Alves is a free agent following his two-year spell at Paris Saint-Germain. The 36-year old has had an illustrious, trophy-laden career with his peak playing years at Barcelona. Alves has won a staggering total of 40 trophies in his senior career, the most by any footballer.
The right-back captained Brazil in their recent Copa America triumph. Dani Alves was named Man of the Match for his brilliant performance in the semi-final against Lionel Messi’s Argentina and he also scored a brilliant goal in the Selecao’s 5-0 thumping of Peru in the group stage.
Many top European clubs will be looking to bring in the veteran defender, as he has shown that he can still play at the highest level. Premier League giants Manchester City and Manchester United are on high alert regarding the Brazilian’s situation. Barcelona are also reportedly interested in a reunion with their former player.
Bayern Munich legend Franck Ribery announced his departure from the club after serving for 12 years. The 36-year old scored 124 goals and lifted 23 major trophies with the Germain giants.
The Frenchman scored in his final game for Bayern Munich in what was a fitting end to his glorious career at the Allianz Arena. Ribery, after the match, stated that he wants to play for at least two more seasons before announcing his retirement.
“I want to play two more seasons. I could have money anywhere. But there’s also the challenge. I’m facing an important decision. I not only have to think about myself, but also about my wife and my five children. But something clicked with this last goal as champion; that helped things with me. I feel that I’m still capable of meeting a nice challenge,” he said.
Newly-promoted Premier League boys Sheffield United were linked with a shock move for Franck Ribery, but the veteran winger has expressed his desire to play at a “big club”. Ribery also has offers from Qatar and Australia as he prepares for life after Bayern Munich.
Controversy-ridden Mario Balotelli is one of the most interesting free agents in the transfer market this summer. The 28-year old forward quit Marseille at the end of the season as he looks for a new club. The former Manchester City and Liverpool man also had decent spells at AC Milan and Nice showing that he still has the ability to play at a big club.
His off-the-field antics, however, is seen as a liability by many, and it will be fascinating as to who will snap up the Italian. Premier League’s West Ham United have been chasing Mario Balotelli following the departures of their forward trio of Andy Carrol, Lucas Hernandez and most recently Marko Arnautovic to China.
28-year old Danny Welbeck has left Arsenal this summer following the expiration of his contract. The English forward played his last game for the English club in November against Sporting Lisbon before picking a season-ending injury.
Welbeck’s lengthy record on the sidelines is the main reason Arsenal let his contract run down. However, Premier League sides are still interested in acquiring the former Manchester United striker’s services. Championship club Leeds United are also monitoring his situation, but Welbeck is destined to stay in the English top-flight.
Another former England international who is a free agent this summer is Daniel Sturridge. The forward, now 29, ended his Liverpool career on a high as he won the Champions League trophy last month.
But with Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane almost irreplaceable for the Reds, Sturridge has to find a new club as he begins to enter the twilight of his career.
Former teammate and current Rangers manager Steven Gerrard wants to bring the veteran striker to the Ibrox Stadium as he looks to add some much-needed experience to the Scottish giants. However, Sturridge’s wages could prove to be a stumbling block in a potential agreement between the two parties.
Chelsea’s veteran defender Gary Cahill was not a part of Maurizio Sarri’s plans last season, with his best footballing years behind him. The 33-year old is attracting interest from a host of Championship clubs, but Cahill believes he can still make it in the Premier League.