More often than note, clubs have to shell out hefty amounts to secure the services of top players. Especially at this age, the transfer fees have reached a new level. This makes finding bargains in the transfer market all the more valuable. Clubs deploy elaborate scouting teams to do the same. Those yield results, but the best kind of bargain is the deal you get for free.
Numerous top players are out of contract for various reasons. The reasons range from injury issues, bust-ups with the club, chemistry issues, and many more. Those players looking for a new club to save their career. Most of them are low-profile players, but one can always unearth some gems from the pool of free agents. On that note, here are the top free agents in this transfer window.
Sadly for Manchester United, Ander Herrera’s time at Old Trafford will come to an end. The Spaniard announced that he would not extend his contract beyond this season. He has always been a fan favorite in Manchester, for the way he displays his passion on the field. A hardworking central midfielder, Herrera joined United from Athletic Bilbao in 2014.
After a poor season from United, Herrera is looking for greener pastures. Aged 29, he still has some good years left in him. Many reports have linked him to Paris Saint-Germain, but nothing concrete has emerged thus far. Quite a few teams could do with Herrera in the middle of the park, and they have time to act upon it.
Few doubt the talent which Adrien Rabiot possesses. The French midfielder has been at Paris Saint-Germain for about a decade now. He has made more than 200 appearances for the club as well and was a crucial part of title-winning teams. A silky midfielder, Rabiot is composed on the ball. He is an adept dribbler, and his playing style is not dissimilar to teammate Marco Verratti.
Despite his talent off the pitch, his personality off the pitch has affected him. Current manager Thomas Tuchel has exiled him at the club. He refused to renew his contract earlier this season and did not appear for training. Rabiot was forced to train with the reserves. In March, he was suspended for a month. His relation with the France national team is not favorable either after he refused to be on the standby list for the World Cup. Despite his issues, the 24-year-old is a hugely talented player, and many teams could do with him in their side.
The polar opposite of Rabiot, Diego Godin has been a complete professional throughout his career. Atletico Madrid will miss him as this season was his last at the club. Godin has been at Atletico since 2010, and he has made 380 appearances for them in the process. An excellent center-back, Godin has been a model of consistency over the years. Aged 33, he has decided to head elsewhere in the twilight of his career.
Despite his age, Godin’s experience and leadership qualities will be useful to many teams. Inter is one of the teams leading the race to sign Godin. New manager Antonio Conte will love to have the Uruguayan marshaling his defense. We have seen many defenders play at a high level into their thirties, and Godin can undoubtedly do that.
Balotelli has always been a notorious name in football circles. The Italian has moved around in recent years after lengthy stays at Inter and Manchester City. He found stability at Nice, where he netted 33 goals in 61 league appearances in three seasons. Balotelli moved to Marseille in the closing stages of this season. He found his goalscoring touch there as well. Balotelli scored eight goals in 12 appearances at Marseille.
He is out of the national setup at the moment as well, and finding a club is necessary to change that. Balotelli joined Marseille on a free transfer after Nice terminated his contract. He could join another club on a free transfer this summer.
The Porto forward has been a crucial part of the team in recent years. Since joining from Granda in 2014, he has made almost 200 appearances for the club. This season he was a valuable player as well. Brahimi 10 goals this season for Porto. His contract is set to expire in June, and he has not engaged in any talks with Porto to extend it.
A move to the Premier League is likely, as clubs like Wolves and West Ham are interested. Nothing concrete has emerged thus far, but he can thrive in the Premier League in the right circumstances. A versatile attacking player, Brahimi can be a valuable addition to many sides.
The Italian is likely to exit Manchester United this summer. Darmian has never really settled in at Old Trafford since he moved in 2015 from Torino. He has failed to get regular starts under any manager at United. Aged 29, he will be keen to get regular football, and that means a move out of Manchester is likely.
Prominently a right-back, Darmian can play in many positions across the backline. The likes of Napoli and Inter are interested in Darmian. United have an option to extend his contract, but it seems unlikely at this juncture.