Far from the big names and big clubs which involve transfers of multi-millions of Euros and pounds, there are those who have run out of contracts in the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga, with quality players like Chris Brunt, Florent Malouda, Andrei Arshavin, Joan Verdu, Joaquin, Fabrizio Miccoli and Andreas Ivanschitz up for grabs, for free.
None of these players brings with him a life changing experience for the club that will sign him, and probably none of them can start for Champions League caliber teams, but they can certainly become useful members on any squad; sometimes good enough to make the biggest of differences on a specific role.
There are 67 players becoming available in the Premier League for a free transfer after running out of a contract. While none of them are going to make a team make a complete turnaround, there are quite a few who could become very useful and even becoming starting players, or at least depth providers, for some top sides.
Chris Brunt of West Brom has been one of their most consistent players since joining the team in 2007, mostly playing on the left wing as a tireless presence. He has 7 assists to his name this season in the Premier League, featuring 31 times for the team, and if he doesn’t re-sign for the Baggies, probably half the league, the lower half of it at least, will be trying to sign him.
Andrei Arshavin didn’t have a good season, and most would consider him a flop, but he’s probably the biggest name becoming a free agent this summer after four not so successful years at Arsenal (23 goals, 23 assists in 105 matches), playing only 7 times in 2012-2013. He’s going to have quite a lot of demand outside of England, probably for clubs that don’t mind paying huge wages to a 31 year old player who hasn’t been really showing his best ability outside the national team uniform.
Florent Malouda is another interesting case of a player who might still have quite a lot to give for the right team. Malouda didn’t play a single match for Chelsea this season, not because he wasn’t good, but because the club was trying to do everything in its power to rid itself of a very expensive player who wasn’t at his best anymore. Instead, Malouda decided he’ll see out his contract in any case, trained with the youth team at times (a humiliating tactic used by clubs), and now can join any team he’d like, with quite a few sides outside the Premier League interested in his services. Rumors from Russia (Anzhi), France (PSG) and even Brazil (Santos) have been flying around.
Joaquin – The 31 year old right winger had a fantastic season with Malaga, scoring 8 goals, including 3 in their Champions League campaign. While not as fast as he used to be during his heyday with Real Betis, he’s still a very dangerous player and capable of performing at a rather high level on a consistent basis, including for teams with higher aspirations than Malaga, looking for some depth. It’s rumored that Fiorentina are highly interested in him.
Joan Verdu – The do-it-all Espanyol midfielder enjoyed what has probably been his best season for the club since joining in 2009, scoring 9 goals, playing all around the middle of the pitch but also as an attacking midfielder and second striker. If Espanyol don’t keep him, half the league in Spain is going to try and get him to sign with them.
Javier Saviola – Another Malaga player, who might see themselves falling apart this summer after missing out on Champions League qualification. Saviola, 31, scored 9 goals in all competitions last season for Malaga, which doesn’t make him the most prolific of strikers anymore, but certainly someone quite a lot of teams around the continent (and maybe even further away) would still like to see playing for them.
Mathieu Flamini – Flamini wasn’t a mainstay at Milan since arriving from Arsenal, playing 96 matches in five seasons, with most remembering him for his disgusting tackle against Tottenham while being proud of it. He scored 4 goals in 18 matches last season for Milan, and is eyeing a return to England, with Southampton hoping to sign him.
Fabrizio Miccoli – There are few players with the genius and talent of Fabrizio Miccoli, who somehow managed to spend most of his career outside the radar of the big clubs once he left Juventus. He scored 9 goals and added 10 assists, but it wasn’t enough for Palermo who found themselves being relegated. Miccoli is too good for Serie B, and will find himself a team that could make quite a lot of use.
Diego Perez – One of my favorite players, personally, just avoided relegation (again) with Genoa, and the 33-year old central midfielder, usually known for his defensive qualities, will make a good substitute for any team looking to add depth to their midfield, or a starter to any club that doesn’t mind a little bit of ugly football in the middle.
Andreas Ivanschitz – The Austrian playmaker has done quite well for Mainz over the last couple of seasons, scoring 8 goals and adding 7 assists, helping them to another mid-table finish (13th). He would like to stay in Mainz, but there might be some better offers for him waiting outside of Germany, at least in terms of money.
Ciprian Marica – Schalke have a club option to keep him on for another season, but it looks like after only 5 goals in two season for the German club, it’s time for him to go elsewhere, hopefully a club that will give him some lineup time. It’s probably outside of Germany, but Marica can do well for teams with lesser expectations.
Thomas Kahlenberg – The Danish midfielder didn’t play much for Wolfsburg since arriving in 2009, featuring 13 times in 2012-2013, but his ability to play both in the middle and on the wing is quite useful for any middle-tier team to have, and he should have suitors in both Germany and France if Wolfsburg don’t pick him once more.