After what has been an incredible season across Europe, many players will be searching for a new club after not renewing a contract with their respective clubs. Below is a selection of the hottest properties available on a free transfer this summer.
There really is no other place to start. The Ivory Coast striker won the Champions League with his final kick at the end of eight successful seasons with Chelsea.
After having a starring role in his clubs end of season run in, the 34 year old has shown he still has what it takes to perform at the highest level, though it looks highly likely that he will be heading to the riches of the Chinese Super League, possibly to join up with former team mate Nicolas Anelka, who is now manager at Shanghai Shenhua.
Alessandro Del Piero
A club legend of the highest degree, Del Piero has essentially spent his whole career at Juventus.
In almost two decades with The Old Lady, he has broken all manner of individual records, including all-time top scorer and appearance maker, as well as winning several league titles, three Champions League trophies and much more.
The Italian legend, who lifted the World Cup in 2006, is rumoured to be moving to either the English Premier League or the MLS, for what could well be his final season in professional football.
From the old, to the new. Junior Hoilett was a star performer in a mostly lacklustre Blackburn Rovers squad that were relegated from the English Premier League. Aged 21, the winger has already attracted interest from some major clubs in England and afar.
Due to his age, the capture of Hoillet would command a fee in compensation, though with such promise shown so far, it would surely be an investment worth making.
After three seasons dogged by injury, Manchester United released Michael Owen from his contract earlier this month.
It’s difficult not to feel for the England striker, who due to his persistent time on the side-lines, hasn’t appeared for his country since 2008. He has however stated that he still has the ability to play at the top level, and still has shown in his limited appearances that he still knows where the goal is.
Another player who has often struggled with injury, Owen Hargreaves made just four appearances for Manchester City in his one season with the club – scoring a wonderful goal for them on his debut in the league cup.
At just 31, England’s player of the year in 2006 could still be an asset for a top level European club.
The Ivory Coast forward will call time on his Chelsea career after six years with the club, having appeared in both Chelsea’s FA Cup final, and Champions League final victories this season.
In his time at Stamford Bridge he has won seven major trophies, and despite being largely a squad player made over 250 appearances for the Blues.
Like Drogba and Kalou, Jose Bosingwa has collected an array of trophies in his four years with Chelsea.
He played a key role in Chelsea’s Champions League run –in, including the full 120 minutes against Bayern Munich in the final, where he collected his second winner’s medal having been part of the Porto side who were victorious in the 2003/2004 campaign.
Pranjic who like many on this list has struggled with injuries in recent years, will be part of Croatia’s Euro 2012 squad, before searching for a new club after his contract with Bayern Munich has come to an end.
Despite being used as a defender at international level, Pranjic can play a more forward role, either on the left side, or in central midfield.
Despite not having the best season last time around, the Colombia striker has been linked with a move to a bigger club since becoming Wigan Athletic’s all-time top scorer last year.
He leaves the Lattic’s after three seasons with the club, and has been a large part of their continued survival in the Premier League.
In 2007, Sunderland paid an all-time record transfer fee for a goalkeeper of £9m for the Scotland International.
However, a mix of injury, and the emergence of Belgian International Simon Mignolet has seen Gordon’s chances limited, and he was one of nine players released by the North East club in May.
He recently was adjudged to have made the greatest save in twenty years of the English Premier League, in a match versus Bolton in 2010.