Manchester United's  Zlatan Ibrahimovic reacts during the UEFA Europa League match between Anderlecht and Manchester United at the Constant Vanden Stock stadium in Brussels on April 13, 2017. 
 / AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND        (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

That's a Bargain! 6 of the Best Free Transfers Made in the Last Decade

In an age where transfer fees are becoming astronomical, a good old fashioned free transfer cannot go unappreciated. 


These usually come about when a player becomes disillusioned at his current club, or due to some sort of contractual clause, allowing alerted clubs to pounce on a potential bargain. 


In that respect, here are some of the most influential free transfers of the last decade...

6. Demba Ba

The Senegalese hit-man scored seven goals in just 12 games for West Ham in the 2010/11 season, but could not prevent the Hammers from dropping down into the Championship. 


As a result of the Irons' relegation, Ba become available on a free due to a relegation clause in his contract, which Newcastle quickly took advantage of. 


Under Alan Pardew, the now 32-year-old managed to score an impeccable 29 goals in 54 games for the Magpies, before leaving to join Chelsea. 


Ba led Newcastle to a 5th place finish in his first season at St James' Park, earning them a Europa League spot, and can be considered an immensely shrewd piece of business.

5. Dani Alves

The Brazilian has become somewhat of a poster boy for the effectiveness of free transfers in recent years, signing for both Juventus and more recently Paris Saint-Germain for nothing. 


His PSG career is in it's infancy, so we will focus on his time in Serie A, in which he scored five goals and made six more as he helped Juventus to another Serie A title, the Coppa Italia, and to the Champions League final, which they ultimately lost.

4. Andrea Pirlo

One of the all time great string-pullers in midfield, Andrea Pirlo shocked AC Milan back in 2011 when he decided to reject their offer of a new contract and join Serie A rivals Juventus. 


Pirlo's decision was vindicated, as he embarked on a trophy laden four years in Turin whilst the  Rossoneri declined drastically. 


The now 38-year-old cited his reason for leaving the capital as a result of a lack of game time following a period out injured, as he struggled to regain a first team place upon regaining fitness. 


Milan's loss was Juventus' gain however, as Pirlo helped the club to four Serie A titles in his four years in Turin. 

3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Despite the discounted nature of his free transfer being clouded by his reported £367,600 weekly wages, Zlatan can still be regarded as one of the best free transfers of all time. 


The Swede reunited with Jose Mourinho for the 2015/16 campaign, and played a starring role as the Red Devils won the EFL Cup and the Europa League, the former of which saw the 35-year-old net a match winning brace. 


In all competitons, United's number nine notched 28 goals, cementing his place as an exquisite free transfer. 

2. Paul Pogba

Juventus became the beneficiaries of yet another situation of player unrest when the then 19-year-old Paul Pogba became disillusioned with life at Old Trafford, as Sir Alex Ferguson opted to play full back Rafael over the Frenchman in midfield. 


He consequently refused United's offer of a new contract and joined the Serie A side on a free transfer, and went on to win four Serie A titles, the 2013 Golden Boy award and was named in the FIFPro World XI for 2015. 


Juventus later made a hefty profit of a then world record fee of £89.3m for the 24-year-old, and can count the capture of Pogba in 2012 as exceptional business.

1. Robert Lewandowski

The prolific Polish international opted to run down his contract at Borussia Dortmund and joined their arch rivals Bayern Munich on a free transfer back in 2014, and it could arguably be deemed as the best bit of business of all time. 


Lewandowski scored 103 goals over a four year spell at the Westfalenstadion, and since joining the Bavarians, the 29-year-old has bettered those numbers and scored 120 goals in just 155 games. 


These staggering numbers just further reinforce the fact that the Pole should go down as one of the best free transfers in footballing history.