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01st Jul 2019

A combined XI of free agents this summer

There is a lot of talent available for free in this summer's transfer market, here is a starting XI of the best players who are out of contract

Reuben Pinder

There is some serious talent going spare this summer

If you’ve been outside over the weekend you will have realised that summer has arrived. And with it, the transfer window. As we enter July, Europe’s elite will start throwing around astronomical amounts of money as they clamber for the next big thing. But there is a lot of talent available for nothing in the free agent market this summer.

It’s like shopping in TK Maxx. Most of the players players available on a free looked much better about five years ago, but can still do a job in the right environment. Here is an ultimate XI of players who could move on a free this summer.

GK: Gianluigi Buffon

Gigi took the decision to leave Juventus last summer for Paris Saint-Germain in pursuit of that illusive Champions League trophy. But PSG did what PSG do and failed to reach even the quarter-finals this year, losing to Manchester United – with Buffon making two errors leading to goals. He will now leave PSG after a disappointing year in the French capital but the veteran ‘keeper still has a year in the tank and would be a savvy signing for any middling side looking for an experienced head as a temporary fix. In all likelihood he will probably end up sitting on Juve’s bench for his final year.

RB: Dani Alves

The most decorated footballer in history is currently without a club, having also left PSG following his post-Barcelona tour of Europe’s elite. He’s won titles in Spain, Italy and France. Could a short term move to Bayern Munich be on the cards? At the age of 35, you’d assume Alves hasn’t got long left, but he has managed to maintain a high level of performance thus far, so much so that he’s still captaining Brazil at this summer’s Copa America. Who’s to say he can’t offer a side three more good seasons?

CB: Gary Cahill

Not fancied by Maurizio Sarri, Gary Cahill was not afforded much of a goodbye after six-and-a-half years at Chelsea. The former England international was linked with a move next door to Fulham in January, but it never materialised. With the amount of money floating around English football this summer, Fulham could still be a potential destination for the defender despite their relegation.

CB: Thomas Vermaelan

I know what you’re thinking: ‘he’s still at Barcelona?????’. Yep. Thomas Vermaelan has somehow lasted at Barcelona until 2019, playing a grand total of 53 matches over four seasons. Injuries have plagued the 33-year-old’s career but if he is managed well and can stay fit, the Belgian international could still provide a service for a club of the right level. Perhaps a return to the Eredivisie?

LB: Filipe Luis

I’m not entirely sure why Atlético Madrid are letting him go, having just sold Lucas Hernandez to Bayern Munich, but one would assume they’re going to reinvest that money in another young defender to fill their left-back slot for the foreseeable future. Luis is 33 now but would still make an excellent addition to a squad needing some experience at the back. Perhaps in a league where the tempo is a bit slower. Did someone say Inter Milan?

RM: Arjen Robben

Robben is 35 now but not one left-back in world football has managed to work out how to stop him cutting inside and shooting with his rocket of a left foot. The flying Dutchman has maintained an extremely high level of performance well into his 30s and could still do a job for several top flight teams. The likes of Arsenal, who are crying out for a top class winger, should be all over him.

CM: Ander Herrera

Manchester United’s shithouse-in-chief drew a close to his time at Old Trafford recently with sentimental video fitting of a player whose greatest asset appears to be his ability to grab the badge on his chest with the same aggression he used to put into his early reducers. A move to PSG, where he would replace the departing Adrien Rabiot, has been mooted but not yet gone through. The Spaniard would be a welcome addition to the Ligue 1 champions’ midfield, which has lacked steel since Blaise Matuidi left for Juventus.

CM: Yohan Cabaye 

Please come back to Palace, Yohan. I’m begging you.

LM: Frank Ribéry

Long-term partner in crime to Arjen Robben, Ribéry has also bid farewell to Bayern Munich after an illustrious 12 years in Bavaria. The 36-year-old will struggle to get a move to any of Europe’s elite clubs, but showed on his final appearance for Bayern that he is still capable of delivering moments of supreme quality. He has been linked with a move to *checks notes* Sheffield United, which just sounds crazy enough to work.

ST: Daniel Sturridge

Once England’s star striker and one half of the deadliest strike partnership in the Premier League, Sturridge is now a shadow of his former self. Injuries have played a huge part in his downfall throughout his mid to late 20s, but he still managed 27 appearances in all competitions last season. His injury record could prove to be an obstacle in his search for a club.

ST: Mario Balotelli

Balotelli is an enigma. He has shown glimpses of genius throughout his career but never consistently enough. During his time at OGC Nice under Lucien Favre, it seemed like the someone had finally cracked the code to getting the best out of him. But a change in manager led to a downturn in form and inevitably, a falling out with Patrick Vieira. Balotelli has spent the last six months on a short term contract at Marseille, scoring seven goals. But the 28-year-old appeared to confirm he would be moving on with a farewell message on social media. He may be a maverick, but surely there’s a manager out there willing to take another punt on him?