Football Features

Best free agents for the 2023 summer transfer window

By James Amey

Published: 17:36, 10 August 2023

The Summer transfer window is in full swing as club’s prepare to start the 2023/24 campaign. 

With the new season apon us, most sides will be looking to finalise their squads in the coming weeks, improving their sides ready for the new campaign. Whether it’s a big money move for a top player or the bargain buy that would fit perfectly in a new manager’s system, everyone is on the lookout for bargain and the right player at the right price.

And what could be a bigger bargain than getting a top name or the perfect player for free? There are some experienced top level players available for absolutely nothing that could be perfect for a host of different sides.

Here’s our top 10:

10. Tiemoue Bakayoko 

  • Age: 28
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Previous Club: Chelsea (on loan at AC Milan)
  • 2022/23 League Appearances: 3

After helping guide Monaco to the Ligue 1 title in 2016/17 and being named in the Champions League Team of the Season, Bakayoko looked to be one of the signings of the summer for Chelsea, but it never worked out at Stamford Bridge. After some less than impressive performances, the midfielder spent most of his career on loan in Serie A with Napoli and AC Milan, as well as brief return to Monaco in 2019/20.

Still only 28, there is still time for the French international to re-build his career somewhere else and re-discover his form that made the world take notice.

9. Samir Handanovic 

  • Age: 39
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Previous Club: Inter
  • 2022/23 League Appearances: 1

Having falling down the pecking order at Inter to now Manchester United number one Andre Onana, the Slovenian decided it was time to leave Inter after 11 years at the club. During his time with the Nerazzurri, the Slovenian was named Serie A goalkeeper of the year on three separate occasions, set the record for the most saves in Serie A history and in 2010/11, became the first goalkeeper in 62 years and only the second goalkeeper in Italian football history to save six penalties in a single top flight season.

If you’re looking for a goalkeeper to bring on for penalty shootouts then look no further.

8. Dimitri Payet

  • Age: 36
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Previous Club: Marseille
  • 2022/23 League Appearances: 23

The former West Ham maestro broke down in tears during his farewell Marseille press-conference, explaining how he didn’t want to leave the club he had spent five years at. His contract was expected to expire in 2024, but club officials ripped up his deal one year early, instead offering him a non-playing contract at the club if he retired.

“The club offered me, if I stopped today, a retraining. But I still have pleasure to give in football.” he declared.

“It is not easy to digest but I think it has the merit of being honest, this was not expected on my side.”I would like to continue playing football. I am coming out of a very difficult season with little playing time. I want to play, to find pleasure on the pitch, quite simply.”

7. Hugo Mallo

  • Age: 32
  • Position: Defender
  • Previous Club: Celta Vigo
  • 2022/23 League Appearances: 26

Having joined Celta Vigo’s youth set up in 1999 and becoming the player with the most top flight appearances for the side in the club’s history, it’s now time for the Spanish full-back to find a new club.  A consistent presence in Celta’s defence since their promotion to LaLiga in 2012, Mallo has had chances to move away from his howetown in previous years, but has always turned them down, including a lucrative offer to join the Premier League and Fulham in 2018.

Now on a free, he could be an interesting acquisition for someone, whether in Spain or elsewhere in Europe.


6. Alfredo Morelos

  • Age: 27
  • Position: Forward
  • Previous Club: Rangers
  • 2022/23 League Appearances: 32

Despite leaving Rangers in May, Alfredo Morelos is still looking for a new club after spending five years with Scottish giants.

The Colombian international boasts an incredible goalscoring record for the Gers, having found the back of the net 124 times in 269 appearances across all competitions for the club, including 29 in 63 games on the European stage. Having scored 10+ league goals in all six seasons in Scotland, the 27-year old has made it clear that he would like to stay in Europe.

“I have made it clear I want to stay in Europe and play football there. We are currently working towards making that happen. No, I still don’t have anything and there is nothing close, but hopefully something interesting will come up. I am calm and relaxed about the situation. I have been able to spend a lot of time with my family for a change.”

“That has been nice. I want to play in a good European league which my family would enjoy. I am looking forward to the new season, just as I did every single season when I was at Rangers. “At Rangers, I had great years there and I am proud of how it went for me when I was there. My favourite memory was winning the Scottish Premiership, but I was pleased with how I did in every season. Now it is just a case of waiting for a new opportunity elsewhere.”

5. Alexis Sanchez 

  • Age: 34
  • Position: Forward
  • Previous Club: Marseille
  • 2022/23 League Appearances: 35

Despite finishing as Marseille’s top goalscorer last season, Alexis Sanchez could not agree a deal with the club and once again finds himself looking for a new club. The Chilean scored 14 goals in 35 Ligue 1 appearances in 2022/2,  having reiterated his desire to stay at the club back in March.

“I’m happy and content in Marseille.” He said.

“I love the fans. The club trusts and takes care of me, and when that happens, you just have to prove yourself. I would make a mistake if I slacked off. Consistency in football is the hardest thing to achieve. I’m a person who says what he thinks. I’m transparent. The Marseille leaders now know what they have to do.”

A return to the club may still be on the cards, but having already scored in Serie A, LaLiga, the Premier League and Ligue 1, maybe a move to the Bundesliga could be the perfect fit, so he can complete the set.

4. Adama Traore 

  • Age: 27
  • Position: Forward
  • Previous Club: Wolves
  • 2022/23 League Appearances: 34

Unstoppable on his day, Adama Traore’s lighting quick speed and strong dribbling abilities can cause even the best defenders in the world nightmares as they slip off the baby oil covered forward just trying to get near him. The 27-year-old would be the perfect player to have in your squad, either as an impact player when legs are tired or for a counter-attacking side looking to spring into action.

He has completed more take-ons than any other Premier League player since the beginning of the 2019/20 season (477), but its his decision making and final ball that seems to have let him down during his career so far. Having gotten himself in to these incredible positions during his time at Wolves (and loan to Barcelona), the Spaniard has just 10 goals and 15 assists in 194 Premier League appearances to his name.

If he can put that right with the help of the right coach, then for free, it would be a no-brainer to sign him up.

3. Eden Hazard

  • Age: 32
  • Position: Forward
  • Previous Club: Real Madrid
  • 2022/23 League Appearances: 6

It’s fair to say that Eden Hazard’s big money move to Real Madrid did not go to plan for either party. Having played 30+ league matches in all seven seasons as a Chelsea player (245 in total), the Belgian managed just 54 LaLiga matches across four years at the Bernabeu, scoring just four goals and providing four assists as his constant injury problems plagued his time in Spain.

It was a far cry from the player that we saw light up the Premier League week in and week out during his time at Stamford Bridge, as the former PFA Players Player of the Year and PFA Young Players Player of the Year never really got going. However, a new league and a new start may be perfect for the forward and some club may just be able to help him recreate just some of the form that he showed during his spells with Lille and Chelsea.

2. Sergio Ramos

  • Age: 37
  • Position: Defender
  • Previous Club: PSG
  • 2022/23 League Appearances: 33

671 games, 101 goals, 22 trophies.

Sergio Ramos left Real Madrid as a club legend in 2021 as he joined El Clasico rival Lionel Messi in Paris. However, after just two seasons, the Spaniard has decided it is time once again to move on after never really settling in the French capital. An injury ravaged first season saw him make just 12 league appearances under Mauricio Pochettino as PSG went on to win the league title, before lifting the Trophee des Champions and a second Ligue 1 championship last term, managing  45 matches across all competitions for the Parisians.

The centre-back has won countless trophies (and picked up red cards) everywhere he has gone and would be the perfect leader and voice in the dressing room for his choice of next club.

1. David De Gea 

  • Age: 32
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Previous Club: Manchester United
  • 2022/23 League Appearances: 38

After 12 long years, David De Gea’s time at Manchester United finally came to an end this summer, as the final member of the Red Devils’ title winning side from 2012/13 departed. The Spaniard won eight trophies during his time at the club, including three Community Shields, two League Cups, one FA Cup, one Europa League and the aforementioned Premier League title in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge.

Signing off in style by picking up the 2022/23 Premier League Golden Glove award, having kept 17 clean sheets in his 38 appearances, the 32-year-old is now looking for a new challenge after failing to agree to a new deal at Old Trafford. There were question marks over whether he was the right fit for new manager Erik ten Hag’s style of play and his ability with the ball at his feet, so this move may have been a blessing in disguise for both parties.

De Gea leaves the club as the goalkeeper with the most appearances in the PFA Team of the Year in Premier League history and the record for the most clean sheets in Manchester United’s history.

Someone will be getting a bargain.

Free Agent XI

Other notable free agents

  • Timo Horn (GK)
  • Marvin Plattenhardt (DF)
  • Phil Jones (DF)
  • Almamy Toure (DF)
  • Tom Davies (MID)
  • Steven N’Zonzi (MID)
  • Roberto Pereyra (MID)
  • Joao Moutinho (MID)
  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (MID)
  • Jesse Lingard (FWD)
  • Mariano Diaz (FWD)
  • Diego Costa (FWD)