Monday, May 29, 2017

Top Free Agent XI: The list of players with contracts expiring in 2017

Which players would make it into your Top Free Agent XI? / Image by SoccerNews.com

Which players would make it into your Top Free Agent XI? / Image by SoccerNews.com

Out with the Old, in with the New!

Before we proceed with the subject of this article, let me wish you the Happiest New Year ever in front of the entire SoccerNews.com team.

We hope you have many blessings during the upcoming 12 months.

We sure hope it will be an eventful year of football and, if we are to make judgements on the previous year, it should definitely be a cracker.

First excitements await us with the January transfer window now officially open and you can follow the latest transfer rumours at out site right on THIS LINK whereas the Soccer Transfer Centre Live with all the confirmed transfers from all the biggest leagues around the globe lined up is HERE.

Gearing up for January

While some footballers are enjoying their well-earned breaks and others prepare to continue with the hectic Holiday schedule, we would like to take this opportunity and have a look at some of the biggest ones that are entering the final months of their respective contracts and as such can start negotiating with interested parties over a free transfer.

We are all very much familiar with the Bosman ruling which allows players to agree a pre-contract without their old club receiving a fee, but this year’s Bosman list is filled with some high-profile names and we decided to list them all up in an ultimate Bosman’s Top XI in a 4-4-2 formation.

Feel free to add names to the list and share your Top Free Agent XI in the comments below:

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas

Despite the fact he is a 35-year-old goalkeeper, Spanish legendary international Iker Casillas still stands a big presence in world football and should be one of the free-agent shot-stoppers to cause great attention towards the end of the season.

Real Madrid icon has so far notched 23 appearances in all competitions for Porto and his future with the Portuguese giants remains in balance. It has been a turbulent stint for the Spain’s favourite son in the neighbourhood as Casillas had to fight against demons to prove his worth at Porto, but now appears to be ready for a new challenge.

French Ligue 1 outfit Marseille have already expressed their interest in signing the veteran goalkeeper, but we have no doubt that some other clubs will join the race.

Honourable mentions:

Wayne Hennessey (Crystal Palace), Miguel Angel Moya (Atletico Madrid), Rene Adler (Hamburg).

Defence: Branislav Ivanovic – Per Mertesacker – Pepe – Pablo Zabaleta

Based on their current involvement, experience and market value, the aforementioned back-four is the one of our choice.

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has survived many a Chelsea managers during his stint at Stamford Bridge, but his this-season’s role has been limited to the Serbian acting as cover for in-form reborn winger Victor Moses. Ivanovic has been rather professional about his current situation, claiming Chelsea will have the first say in his future. Clubs are lining up however with Valencia being one of the latest sides to join the race.

Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker is chosen in front of Chelsea’s John Terry and many fans will argue the selection. Still, our vote goes for the Arsenal man, although he is more likely to remain at his club past the current season than the veteran Chelsea captain.

Pepe and Real Madrid are miles apart and their journey is coming to an end. The Portugal international is given all clear to leave Santiago Bernabeu and appears to have already opened talks with several interesting parties. A lucrative move to China should not be excluded.

Pablo Zabaleta completes the line in front of his teammate Bacary Sagna, due to the fact he got more playing time over the last couple of months for Manchester City. The Argentine defender is a reliable all-rounder who can fill in a number of positions and would be a valuable asset for whoever decides to grab him.

Honourable mentions:

Johan Djourou (Hamburg), Denis Aogo (Schalke), Gonzalo Rodriguez (Fiorentina), Martin Kelly (Crystal Palace), Aurelien Chedjou (Galatasaray), Benoit Tremoulinas (Sevilla).

Midfield: Yaya Toure – Arjen Robben – Santi Casorla – Taison

The Ivorian is back to business at Manchester City as the hatchet ended up being buried deep between him and manager Pep Guardiola. The two of them endured a difficult period together, but with Yaya apologising and Guardiola lowering his guard, it is all splendid once again as the experienced midfielder plays down his last six months at the Etihad.

As for another world-class star, Dutchman Arjen Robben of Bayern Munich, the last couple of months and the entire year perhaps has not been the most successful and satisfactory. Injuries played their part in hindering the talismanic winger’s season and it appears that his time with the Bavarians is as good as over.

Santi Casorla is one of the favourite players at Arsenal, the man adored by the fans. Still, his time appears to be over as Arsene Wenger is preoccupied solving Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez’s deals, never even suggesting that his long-term absentee would be presented with an offer. A return to Spain is on the cards for the charismatic midfielder who will not be short of options.

Shakhtar winger Taison might be the unlikely inclusion, but in no way is he unworthy of joining the more elite company. The 28-year-old Brazilian has impressed for Ukrainian giants over the last five years and appears to be ready for the next challenge in his career. Italian giants Inter Milan have been linked with Taison over the last couple of days and we are sure that Nerazzurri will not be the last ones.

Honourable mentions:

Antonio Valencia (Manchester United), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Alex Witsel (Zenit), John Obi Mikel (Chelsea), Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), Cheik Tiote (Newcastle United), Miguel Veloso (Genoa), Keisuke Honda (Milan), Xabi Alonso (Bayern Munich).

Attack: Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Mario Balotelli

Manchester United are sure not to allow their in-form Swedish God to run away after only one year at Old Trafford. Ibrahimovic is thriving in the Premier League under the guidance of his favourite manager and their lucrative collaboration is sure to continue beyond the current point in time. Still, his contract is running down and before Red Devils tie him down on a new one, his place on the list is reserved.

Nice forward Mario Balotelli has been reborn at the French coast, having scored 8 goals in as many starts for his new club. The 26-year-old Italy international is likely to be handed an contract extension offer, but some bigger clubs are expected to come calling for the player who managed to get back from difficult times in his career.

Honourable mentions:

Saido Berahino (WBA), Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid), Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria), Rodrigo Palacio (Inter), Mauricio Pinilla (Atalanta), Salomon Kalou (Hertha Berlin).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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