The 25 Best Free Agents Available This Summer

Dom Smith

Once football returns from its COVID-19 pitstop, clubs will stare at their bank accounts and wonder where all the cash went.

The next thing they'll be wondering is how on earth are they going to strengthen their squads, given the shortfalls of revenue that not actually playing any games brings. But, amid all the chaos, there is a solution - and it comes in the form of bargain hunting.

No, we won't see clubs on BBC One wearing red or blue, but we will see an abundance of free agents come the end of the season (whenever that is), in what is basically the footballing equivalent of an open house auction.

With savings to be made, it's probably a good idea to see who'll be knocking around looking for pastures new. To save you doing the research, 90min has cobbled together 25 players who tick all the necessary free agent boxes...

25. Tom Carroll

In the early 2010s, one of the most exciting prospects to graduate through Tottenham Hotspur's academy was Tom Carroll. Since then, however, a succession of loan spells in the Championship as good as things have got for the midfielder.

After recently leaving Swansea, he’s available on a free aged just 27. Potential suitors include Nottingham Forest and Derby County, but who knows what kind of a job he could do - potentially in the top flight.

24. Diafra Sakho

A throwback to a better time at West Ham, Senegal’s Diafra Sakho has been a free agent since he left Bursaspor in Turkey following a tough campaign last season.

Metz and the Hammers will both know there’s a prolific scorer in there somewhere. Couldn’t West Ham do with one of them today?

23. Róbert Mak

The keenest of Manchester City fans might remember Slovakian international Robert Mak. Then again, the striker never made an appearance for the Citizens, so maybe not.

A former Zenit player, Mak is a pedigree (no, he's not Triple H) striker that will likely attract interest from a number of clubs.

22. Tanguy Kouassi

If you’re after a centre-back born as recently as 2002, Kouassi is your man. A Ligue 1 winner at PSG thanks to the recent news that the French domestic season is over with immediate effect, he’s a brilliant prospect with a bright future ahead of him.

Good in the air and an attacking threat from set-pieces, Leipzig, Barcelona and Newcastle United have all shown interest.

21. Younousse Sankharé

Capable of playing as either a left winger or as a left-back, versatility is the name of the game when talking about 30-year-old Younousse Sankharé. Formerly of PSG, he's now a free agent after leaving Bordeaux last summer.

The fact that he's still unemployed some ten months later is a slight concern, but there's no doubting that he could do a job in the Championship....or maybe Ligue 1.....or maybe in Turkey? You get the idea, he'll be good somewhere!

20. Adil Aouchiche

Aouchiche is one of the most exciting young talents at PSG's disposal, but the same can be said for a number of players in the French capital - hence why he's available.

A star for France at youth level, Aouchiche has played just once in Ligue 1 and is keen on signing a professional contract that includes guaranteed game time. He might not get that, and, according to reports, Lille or St Étienne could be the beneficiaries.

19. Giacomo Bonaventura

Versatile midfielder Bonaventura has spent six years at Milan, but his time will likely be up in the summer.

A number of clubs have understandably been tracking the former Italian international, including Arsenal, Roma, Lazio, Fiorentina, Torino and Atalanta - who wants to bet against him staying in Serie A? Nah, we don't either.

18. John Obi Mikel

Lovers of both the Premier League and the World Cup alike will know the skill, craft, composure and effortlessness purveyed by former Chelsea midfielder Mikel. Yes, he was mocked and overlooked at times, but his trophy cabinet speaks for itself.

At 33, his legs are starting to wind down, perhaps indicated by interested from Botafogo in Brazil. Expect the unexpected with Mikel though, right Man Utd fans?

17. Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne's Liverpool career was doomed as early as 2017. No, not because he had a serious injury, but because budding apprentice Trent Alexander-Arnold was now a thing.

Clyne was a full England international and is still a capable player. Watford? Brighton? Southampton? Any takers?

16. Ivan Strinić

It's been a weird couple of years for Ivan Strinić, who was playing in the World Cup final for Croatia as recently as two years ago. But since then, he's missed an entire season because of an undiagnosed heart condition, rendering his new career at Milan obsolete.

A free agent once more, the 32-year-old is said to have recovered - he just needs someone to take a punt on him.

15. Artem Dzyuba

One of the unexpected stars of the 2018 World Cup, Dzyuba looks 44 and resembles the shape of a man strolling to the boxing ring ready to knock someone out. But instead, his killer knockout blows actually all come from inside the six-yard box, either for Zenit or for Russia.

While Tottenham and Lazio are said to be interested, he has personally asked Real Madrid to sign him. Plucky.

14. Ryan Fraser

For the last couple of years, Ryan Fraser has permanently been linked with moves to at least three of the Premier League's 'big six' - an indication of his form for Bournemouth.

Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea are the three currently being touted to sign the Bournemouth star when his contract is up in the summer.

13. Daniel Sturridge

March 2020 saw former England, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool star Daniel Sturridge’s contract at Trabzonspor in Turkey terminated for a second breach of betting laws. He was banned from football for four months. It’s closer to two now, not that he could be playing at the moment anyway…

A return to the Premier League will require a club to trust him again. It remains to be seen if that’s possible.

12. José Callejón

The kind of player you always wanted to play with rather than against on FIFA, José Callejón’s wonderful spell at Napoli looks set to finally end this summer after seven stellar seasons.

A return to Real Madrid is hardly likely, but the Spanish international has been linked with two big European clubs nonetheless — Fenerbahçe and Valencia.

11. Layvin Kurzawa

27-year-old French left-back Layvin Kurzawa is a wanted man. With time on his side but his contract at PSG very much not, Barcelona, Arsenal and Inter are all said to be interested in snapping him up this summer.

The situation might be different if his current employers weren’t so insistent on prying Alex Telles away from Porto.

10. Adam Lallana

After sustaining hamstring injuries in both 2017 and 2018, Adam Lallana hasn’t been able to recapture the form that he's previously showed for England, Liverpool and Southampton.

The talent is evidently still there - Jürgen Klopp and Gareth Southgate are both big fans - but time and age appears to be running out for Lallana. Serie A giants AC Milan have rebuffed claims they're keen, but Leicester, Arsenal, Spurs and West Ham are admirers of the 31-year-old. Watch his space.

9. Pedro

Almost certainly the most criminally under-appreciated player of his generation, the 32-year-old from Tenerife has won the Premier League, Champions League, La Liga, European Championships, World Cup and many, many other accolades playing for Barcelona, Chelsea and Spain.

Real Betis, Roma and Newcastle are all said to want to a bit of the action once Pedro leaves Chelsea, and they'd be signing a proven winner.

8. Thomas Meunier

Goalscoring full-backs are big business, hence why Inter, Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea are all interested in PSG’s Belgium international.

His four years in Paris have been trophy-laden to say the least and a move to any of the above clubs could continue that trend.

7. Willian

It’s a bit of a clear-out on the flanks this summer for Chelsea, as younger talents Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic ease their way in.

Like Pedro, Willian doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. Tottenham and Arsenal would both suit his style of play and both have been linked. Don't rule out potential moneybags Newcastle, however.

6. Mario Götze

What a career Gotze has had. Sadly, his footballing ability has been rather overshadowed by drama off the pitch but there's no disputing his talent with the ball at his feet.

Has been at Dortmund, then Bayern, then back to Dortmund, while he's been in the Germany squad, out of the Germany squad, in, then out - see what we mean about drama? Despite all that, the 27-year-old can still play, despite making adjustments to his game. AC Milan, Roma and Hertha are all keen.

5. Jan Vertonghen

Almost certain to leave Spurs when his contract runs out in the summer, Vertonghen has been a magnificent servant for Tottenham. But the time has come for him to move on and for a long-term replacement to go the other way.

Inter appear to be in the running for his signature, but more suitors will come out of the woodwork hoping to land Vertonghen.

4. Olivier Giroud

He gets better with age, and that’s why everyone seems to want Giroud. First Arsenal took him, then Chelsea pulled him away. He nearly went to Spurs, too.

Still the striker Didier Deschamps most trusts to lead the line for world champions France, the 33-year-old may yet renew his contract with Chelsea. If he doesn’t, Inter and West Ham could be potential landing spots. Oh, and Newcastle.

3. Dries Mertens

Play Mertens and goals will follow, it's that simple. The Belgium international has spent the last seven years starring for Napoli in Serie A and the Champions League, becoming the club's leading marksman.

Chelsea are interested in the excellent second striker, as are Newcastle. It’s becoming a bit of a theme this — acute ambition from the Magpies. Why the hell not?

2. Edinson Cavani

Few strikers have been as relentless at sticking the ball in the back of the net over the last decade as Cavani.

Yes, there are no signs he’s slowing down at 33, but he still doesn't seem to be affected by the club's intention to replace him with a younger model. Almost certain he'll move to Atlético Madrid, but you never know.

1. David Silva

The embodiment of class and of elegance. David Silva’s wonderful years at Manchester City were exactly that, but as Pep Guardiola prepares to wave him a final farewell, Silva will need to find a new home.

AC Milan apparently want him, but surely a return to boyhood club Valencia would suit all parties. Everyone would live happily ever after - unless MLS come calling, of course.