With the transfer window back open, plenty of players will be on the move this summer. However, with several clubs tightening their belts in the current climate, not every chairman will be willing to splash the cash.
For that reason, we’ve picked out some of the most intriguing unattached footballers seeking new employment for the 2021/22 season…
Unattached Players Summer 2021 | Free Agents This Summer
Previous club: Atlético Madrid
Why sign him? It’s not easy to land a natural goalscorer at the best of times, so Costa would be a no-brainer for several top clubs looking to boost their attacking options this summer. While he’s not quite the force of his Chelsea days, at 32 Costa is by no means a busted flush at the top level, although his fiery temperament may have put off some suitors given no move materialised for him after leaving Atleti in January. Spurs, Benfica and West Ham are among the clubs reportedly keeping tabs.
Previous club: Jiangsu Suning
Why sign him? With 177 career goals to his name, there are few better freebie strikers out there this summer than the former Shakhtar Donetsk hitman. The 31-year-old Brazilian is seeking pastures new after a successful five-year stint in China with Jiangsu Suning, with whom he lifted the Chinese Super League title in 2020. Aston Villa are among the clubs said to have expressed an interest, although a move back to the Ukraine could be the more logical move.
Previous club: Trabzonspor
Why sign him? Let’s get to the straight to the point: yes, he’s injury prone, and, yes, if does sign for your club, you’ll need to handle him with extreme caution.
However, it’s easy to overlook the fact that at 31, Sturridge still has some time on his side for a second act in what has often been a frustrating career.
A short-term deal combined with a manager who manages him carefully could be all Sturridge needs to tentatively get his career back on track – after all, it looks to be working for Danny Welbeck at Brighton.
There is no shortage of clubs desperate for goals heading into the 2021/22 Premier League season, and that could be Sturridge’s chance for a resurrection in English football if he’s willing to put the hard yards in.
Previous club: Montreal Impact
Why sign him?
He’s not had the career his early potential hinted at, but the former Barcelona man looks an intriguing freebie this summer after a short-lived stint with Montreal Impact in the MLS. A move back to England seems unlikely after his largely underwhelming five-year spell with Stoke, but at 30 he could yet have a successful closing act to his career if he can find the right manager to work with. Whether he still has the real drive required to compete for top honours is an open question after the Impact declined to offer him an extended deal back in December 2020.
Previous club: Troyes
Why sign him? He’s got Premier League pedigree after a four-year spell with Crystal Palace between 2015 and 2019.
Now Senegalese left back Souaré is on the lookout for a new club after parting ways with French Ligue 2 side Troyes this summer. He may feel he has unfinished business in English football after injuries sustained in a car crash hampered his final years with the Eagles, and he could be a solid free transfer option for various EFL Championship clubs looking to save the pennies.
Previous club: Melbourne Victory
Why sign him? He’s got a wealth of experience at Championship level as a mainstay at Birmingham and Middlesbrough in recent times, and could be a tempted by move back to the UK after a brief flirtation down under with the A League. At 6ft 3in he can add genuine presence to any team, and he’s versatile too – playing at right back, right wing and even upfront at different stages in his career. Plus we can’t not mention his major weapon – a long throw to rival the legendary Rory Delap.
Previous club: Denizlispor
Why sign him? The 6ft 8in keeper is out of contract after a spell in the Super Lig, and has bags of Premier League and Championship experience to call on with Man City, Sunderland, Watford and Nottingham Forest among the clubs on his CV. The Romanian giant was more than happy playing second fiddle at times at some of those sides, and at 34, he’s not exactly past his best when it comes to his position. Even top clubs are usually reluctant to burn a hole in the transfer budget on the back-up keeper. Pantilimon could be an economical pick-up.
Previous club: Brighton
Why sign him? He’s a maverick who could still have something to offer from off the bench – if his fitness can stand up. The Colombian left Brighton earlier this summer after two injury-hit seasons on the South Coast but started out as a livewire for the Seagulls as his five goals helped them to consolidate at Premier League level. If he still has his sights set on a top-flight posting for his next move, a pay-as-you-play deal may suit both parties at least for the short term.
Previous club: Torino
Why sign him? Nkoulou has excelled marshalling things at the back in two of Europe’s biggest leagues as a stalwart at Monaco, Marseille and Torino and he’s also flourished on the international scene, scoring a vital equaliser in the 2017 African Cup of Nations final for Cameroon as the Indomitable Lions went on to lift the title.
It’s rare to find that level of experience going spare on the market, andLeeds are among the clubs thought to be interested. Marcelo Bielsa is rumoured to be weighing up a reunion with the defender who served him so well during his time at Marseille.
Previous club: Leeds Utd
Why sign him? The news that ‘Gjianni’ would be leaving Elland Road earlier this summer was greeted with an outpouring of good wishes from the Leeds Utd faithful, a sign of the esteem the Macedonian is held in after playing a key role in their development from Championship mediocrity to comfortable Premier League safety. The adventurous left-back is possibly the most versatile free transfer going this summer, having played in nearly every position on the pitch during his four-year spell with the Whites. A controversial touted move to Galatasaray may just sour his reputation with the Leeds fanbase should he make the move to Turkey.
Previous club: Bayern Munich
Why sign him? This guy knows a thing or two about winning. The World Cup, Champions League, and Club World Cup are just a fraction of the trophies he’s lifted during a glittering career that could still have one final act at the age of 32. It’s not as if he’s winding down either. Boateng featured 39 times for Bayern last season as they lifted another Bundesliga title. Spurs are just one of the clubs sniffing out his availability.
Previous club: Burnley
Why sign him? While he wasn’t always necessarily the first name on the team sheet during his latter days at Burney, the Irishman was always reliable when called upon for Sean Dyche’s men, scoring four goals in 87 Premier League appearances during a four-year stay with the Clarets. A few EFL Championship clubs could do worse than make a few discreet enquiries given the industrious winger remains the right side of 30.
Previous club: Sheffield Wednesday
Why sign him? He’s an experienced Championship operator with over 250 games to his name in the second tier. Reach was also arguably in need of a new challenge after a mostly successful five-year stint in South Yorkshire, even before Sheffield Wednesday succumbed to relegation last season. With belts tightening across the EFL, he’s still a decent age and is schooled in the hard yards of Championship football to be a canny freebie for any second-tier side.
Unattached Players – 2021 Free Transfers
- ADAM REACH
- ALEX TEIXEIRA
- COSTEL PANTILIMON
- DANIEL STURRIDGE
- DIEGO COSTA
- EZGJAN ALIOSKI
- JÉRÔME BOATENG
- JOSÉ IZQUIERDO
- MAMADOU SAKHO
- NICOLAS NKOULOU
- PAPE SOUARÉ
- ROBBIE BRADY
- RYAN SHOTTON
List correct as of 27/07/21
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