Year after year, incredible value can be found in the transfer market when looking for free agents.
Sure, you’re highly unlikely to lure the game’s next world-class talent to your club or wow the fans with a statement of intent via this route.
However – and Football Manager players will vehemently vouch for this – there is always a wealth of free agents just waiting to be poached to either bulk up a club’s squad to cope with the rigours of European football, or add that little bit of quality which can mean the difference between success and failure.
Given the events of 2020, free transfers have arguably never been more important and right now, there is a host of attackers with contracts set to expire or already without a club just waiting to be given another chance at proving themselves and grabbing those all-important goals and assists.
We’ve listed 10 of the most ‘valuable’ below, ranked by their Football Index share prices.
10. Fabio Borini
Football Index value: Buy: £0.38 – Sell: £0.20
He might not be the dynamic forward many expected him to be upon his arrival at Liverpool back in the day, but Fabio Borini still has plenty to offer for the right team.
His three goals for Verona during the second half of the 2019/20 season, including the equaliser in a 2-1 comeback win over Juventus, earned five points for I Gialloblu, without which they would have finished way down in 14th rather than ninth.
Borini is versatile and vastly experienced and for a team looking to avoid the drop in one of Europe’s top five leagues. The Italian could be a handy pick-up this summer.
9. Hatem Ben Arfa
Football Index value: Buy: £0.43 – Sell: £0.20
There have been few characters in football more mercurial than Hatem Ben Arfa over the past decade, whether that be popping on loan at Hull City or inspiring Rennes to a Coupe de France title.
He might have failed to impress during a six-month spell with Real Valladolid, but there’s no denying the talent Ben Arfa possesses and on his day, he’s able to split a defence or weave his way through the opposition with his wonderful mixture of passing and dribbling skills. Let’s not forget, he recorded seven goals and two assists for Rennes during the 2018/19 Ligue 1 season.
As can be seen from his passes received and movements network from that campaign, Ben Arfa loves to hover around his centre-forward, picking the ball up in dangerous areas and getting into the half-space to both avoid detection from the opposition and create shooting opportunities.
Even at 33, you have to think there will be plenty of clubs willing to take a chance on him.
8. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
Football Index value: Buy: £0.45 – Sell: £0.14
Even to this day, you can find yourself blinking in amazement at the fact that Eric Choupo-Moting, a striker who scored five goals in 32 games for Stoke City, plays for Paris Saint-Germain. But with his contract soon to expire, it looks as if his time is up there.
The Cameroon international will most likely be remembered by PSG fans for his horrendous miss against Strasbourg in April 2019, where he attempted to push Christopher Nkunku’s goal-bound effort over the line, only to accidentally divert it wide.
However, any club trying to sign Choupo-Moting will still get a hard-working centre-forward with plenty of skill dropping into the space behind the forward line to link play. On a free transfer, he might not be a bad back-up option.
7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Football Index value: Buy: £0.51 – Sell: £0.24
Does Zlatan Ibrahimovic really need any introduction? Whether it’s in the Premier League with Manchester United, MLS with LA Galaxy or Serie A with AC Milan, the former Sweden international has continued to defy his age, scoring an absolute glut of goals.
This season alone, Zlatan has bagged 11 times in just 20 games across all competitions for Milan, helping the Rossoneri to a sixth-place finish when European football barely even seemed like a pipe dream.
Ibrahimovic has made it clear, however, that Europa League football doesn’t interest him and given his output and monumental wealth of experience, you have to think there will be a number of Champions League clubs queuing up for him this summer.
6. Jose Callejon
Football Index value: Buy: £0.54 – Sell: £0.30
Given that he signed from Real Madrid for just €10m back in 2013, it’s absolutely remarkable that Jose Callejon has netted 82 goals in 347 appearances across all competitions for Napoli. It really does beg the question of how he’s only been capped five times by the Spanish national team.
However, in the past couple of seasons, Callejon’s influence has waned somewhat and this summer, he will find himself without a club.
That said, and even at 33 years old, the Spaniard still created the second-highest number of chances (63) of any Napoli player in Serie A during 2019/20 while he also registered the joint-highest number of assists (7).
Aston Villa, Everton and Valencia are all reportedly among his current admirers.
Join Football Index* in three steps:
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*You have to be 18+ and Gamble Aware to sign up to Football Index. Values correct at time of writing on 04/08/2020.
5. David Silva
Football Index value: Buy: £0.61 – Sell: £0.34
After 10 long years, David Silva will finally depart Manchester City to make room for a new generation of talent, including Phil Foden. However, to say the 34-year-old is ‘finished’ would be well wide of the mark.
The Spaniard remains a wonderfully gifted footballer, whether that be progressing the ball from the edge of his own box or combining with teammates to create chances at the other end of the pitch.
Silva has been linked with all manner of destinations, including David Beckham’s upstart MLS franchise, Inter Miami. Lazio now appear the most likely club to secure his services, meaning we will see ‘El Mago’ in the Champions League once again next season.
4. Mario Gotze
Football Index value: Buy: £0.79 – Sell: £0.52
The World Cup winner for Germany and a player once touted as one of this generation’s future greats, Mario Gotze has since admitted that goal against Argentina placed too much of a weight upon his shoulders, even if it’ll be a moment he treasures once he ends his career.
“Once I stop playing, it will probably be the experience I cherish most, the first thing that comes to mind,” he told The Athletic last year. “There is nothing more amazing [than the final goal].
“But for my active career, it was not that great, perhaps. The strong emotional response created huge expectations. It became lodged in people’s minds that I was the guy to score decisive goals in decisive games all the time. That was the assumption out there.”
However, at 28, Gotze shouldn’t be thinking about the end of his career just yet, even if Borussia Dortmund have decided once again part ways with the playmaker.
Gotze comes with that aforementioned baggage, as well as a host of injury and fitness issues. However, on his day, he can crack open a defence like a nut and there will be plenty of clubs tempted to take a gamble on his services over the summer.
3. Edinson Cavani
Football Index value: Buy: £0.86 – Sell: £0.39
Like his former PSG teammate Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani still remains incredibly effective in front of goal despite advancing further into his 30s.
He has been limited to mostly substitute appearances during 2019/20, but the Uruguayan still managed seven goals in 22 games.
Cavani is finally set to leave the Parisians this summer as the club’s all-time top scorer.
Cavani was also linked with Inter Miami, although that now seems unlikely. However, after Benfica and Inter reportedly pulled out of the race for his signature, he is now (quite incredibly) a player in the “thoughts” of Premier League comeback side Leeds United, if not their direct plans.
“In addition to his quality, Cavani could contribute with his physicality and adapt here, but I’ve never talked about him with the coach [Bielsa],’ Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani told Sky Sport Italia.
“Having said that, we’ve certainly thought about him and we’ll see, given he’s still available on a free transfer.”
Can you imagine Cavani and Marcelo Bielsa both calling Elland Road home?
2. Ryan Fraser
Football Index value: Buy: £1.19 – Sell: £0.83
Ryan Fraser’s availability on a free transfer has been known for some time now and given his output for Bournemouth over the years, it should come as no surprise to see plenty of interest surrounding his services.
The Scotland international was linked with Liverpool a while back but if we’re being realistic, he would be a mere bench-warmer to provide cover for the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
More recently, he’s been touted as a target for the likes of Newcastle United and Crystal Palace and with both clubs facing a fight to keep hold of their star wide players, Fraser makes great sense as a target.
Whoever gets Fraser will be signing a ruthlessly quick winger whose direct approach in the final third can cause havoc for opposition defences.
Football Index value: Buy: £1.26 – Sell: £1.19
Coming in as the most valuable free agent this summer is Brazil international, Willian, who will cost you a handsome £1.26 per share on the Football Index stock exchange right now.
His real-life wage demands are likely to be much higher but in fairness, even at 31, he does guarantee you an incredible amount of output in the final third, having managed another nine goals and seven assists in the Premier League alone this season. Add the fact that he’s created an average of 2.63 chances per 90 minutes in the English top flight during 2019/20 and you begin to sense that Chelsea might just feel his departure next season.
London rivals Arsenal have been most recently linked with Willian and although he won’t be the defining signing of the Mikel Arteta era, he’s sure to ramp up the Spaniard’s attack, while his work rate is second to none.