Sunday, September 26, 2021

The all-star free agents still searching for a new club

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In a summer transfer window that saw Lionel Messi secure a shock move to PSG, and Cristiano Ronaldo make a stunning return to Old Trafford, we certainly had one of the most memorable markets of all time.

With English clubs breaking the bank, while the likes of Barcelona and Inter Milan battle public financial problems, sides from across the continent could turn their eye to the free agents’ list.

On a list that includes a former Premier League winner and a player who was once the most expensive defender in British transfer history, we have taken a look at the all-star players who are still seeking a new adventure.

Serge Aurier

While Tottenham might be enjoying an immediate boost since bringing in new boss Nuno Espírito Santo, one man who will be playing no further part in North London is right-back Serge Aurier.

Spurs’ chief Daniel Levy made the call to cut his losses on the 28-year-old, with the club electing to terminate his contract on Deadline Day following the signing of Emerson Royal from Barcelona.

Arriving from PSG back in 2017 for a fee of £23million, the right-back made 77 Premier League appearances for the Lilywhites in what was a roller coaster four-year stay in the English capital.

Likely to have upset many at his now-former club when he announced last week that he would be open to a stunning move to Tottenham’s bitter rivals Arsenal, the Ivory Coast defender also stated earlier in the year that he would be keen on a return to Paris.

David Luiz

With it announced over the summer that David Luiz would not be extending his stay at Arsenal, many have wondered where the Brazilian defender would end up next.

Ending his time in England with eight major trophies to his name, including lifting the Premier League title with Chelsea back in 2017, the 34-year-old appears not to be short of options.

Along with being linked with potential returns to both PSG and Benfica, reports from his homeland have suggested that the 57-cap Brazil international does have an offer on the table from domestic champions Flamengo, but he is yet to agree on terms.

Stating that he is in no rush to make up his mind, Football Italia reported over the weekend that Serie A outfit Salernitana have their sights set on making a swoop for Luiz after bringing in former Bayern Munich superstar Franck Ribery.

Eliaquim Mangala

Once brought to the Etihad by defending Premier League champions Manchester City in a deal worth £42million, Eliaquim Mangala was once the most expensive defender in British transfer history.

However, drastically failing to find his feet with the Sky Blues and falling out of favour with Pep Guardiola, the 30-year-old has endured what has been a nightmare fall from grace over the past few years.

Eventually shipped out to top-flight rivals Everton before ending up at La Liga side Valencia, the former record-breaking defender only managed to make five appearances last season, and Mangala is desperate to kick-start his career.

Available on a free transfer after lifting the Premier League title with City just four years ago, reports in England suggested over the weekend that Steve Bruce’s struggling Newcastle could be tempted to hand Mangala a lifeline.

Jack Wilshere

Previously likened to Paul Gasgoine and seen as the future superstar of English football, few would have expected that Jack Wilshere would now find himself on the free agents’ list and with no signs of a new suitor.

Announcing that he should have never left boyhood club Arsenal back in 2018, the 34-cap England international has been left without a club since his short-term agreement with Championship side Bournemouth expired over the summer.

While Wilshere might have thought he had potentially found a new home after training with Italian Serie B outfit Como over the past weeks, a deal was dead in the water due to passport problems.

Just more frustration in what has been a nightmare few years for the former English poster boy, the 29-year-old also announced last month he is considering retiring from football entirely.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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