Bharath Reddy Vennu picks the top 10 free transfer signings in the history of the Premier League...

Demba Ba - West Ham United to Newcastle United

In one of the biggest mistakes in Stoke City's Premier League history, the club turned down Demba Ba on fitness grounds and the Senegalese striker instead joined the Magpies.

In a season-and-a-half at St James' Park the 28-year-old scored an impressive 29 goals in 53 league matches, before Chelsea were moved to activate the £7.5m release clause in the forward's contract in January.

Michael Ballack - Bayern Munich to Chelsea

Despite having been one of the best midfielders in the world Bayern had allowed Ballack's contract to expire in 2006 and for the first time in the player's career he chose to play outside of Germany.

Ballack's free transfer to Chelsea was quite the coup for the Blues and in four years the German helped the club win the Premier League, the FA Cup three times and the League Cup.

Sol Campbell - Tottenham Hotspur to Arsenal

Arguably the best free transfer of the bunch and certainly the most controversial, as in 2001 Campbell made the move from Spurs to fierce rivals Arsenal.

The defender received a torrent of abuse from extremely angry Tottenham fans during his time at Highbury, but two league titles and three FA Cups suggests the Englishman made the right choice.

Kevin Davies - Southampton to Bolton Wanderers

When Sam Allardyce brought Davies to the Reebok Stadium in 2003 the striker's reputation and probably morale, was at rock bottom.

However, in a decade with the club Davies transformed into a powerful goal-scorer and the captain of Bolton - netting 83 goals whilst with the Trotters.

Youri Djorkaeff - FC Kaiserslauten to Bolton Wanderers

The World Cup and European Championship winner was another shrewd signing by Bolton boss Allardyce in 2002, with the Frenchman going onto to have two years of success in Lancashire.

Despite advancing years Djorkaeff was still an influential presence for the Trotters and helped the club establish themselves as a top 10 Premier League side.

Mathieu Flamini - Marseille to Arsenal

Flamini was an unknown entity in England when Gunners manager Arsene Wenger signed the France international in 2004, but after four years at the Emirates Stadium the midfielder went onto prove he was a real talent.

Alongside Cesc Fabregas the pair made a formidable partnership in the middle of the field and Flamini was a key player in Arsenal's march to the Champions League final in 2006.

Brad Friedel - Liverpool to Blackburn Rovers

Having failed to establish himself at Anfield, the Reds allowed the American to leave Merseyside in 2000 for Blackburn.

However, at Ewood Park the goalkeeper reinvented himself and went onto become one of the finest 'keepers in the Premier League during eight years of success with Rovers, before receiving further accolades with Aston Villa and now Tottenham.

Gary McAllister - Coventry City to Liverpool

In 2000 Reds manager Gerard Houllier surprised everybody by signing the 35-year-old McAllister, but it didn't take long for the Scot to shine at Anfield.

The midfielder helped Liverpool to the treble of UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup in 2001 and has since been described by Houllier as his 'most inspirational signing.'

Jay-Jay Okocha - Paris Saint-Germain to Bolton Wanderers

The third Bolton signing on the list and certainly the most exciting, with the Nigerian lighting up the Premier League for four years with some outstanding skill and cheeky goals.

Okocha will forever remain a Bolton legend for the influence the midfielder had on the side's success in the mid-2000s and even the best defenders in the Premier League found the African unplayable at times.

Mark Schwarzer - Middlesbrough to Fulham

Upon Boro's relegation in 2008 their stalwart Australian 'keeper departed the club for Fulham after a decade of service in the north east.

At 35-years-old some thought Schwarzer was past his best however, but the stopper continued to prove everyone wrong by becoming the highest capped foreigner in the Premier League during five years at Craven Cottage and now at 40, has just signed for Chelsea.

 

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Topics:
#Mark Schwarzer
#Mathieu Flamini
#Jay-Jay Okocha
#Demba Ba
#Sol Campbell
#Kevin Davies
#Brad Friedel
#Gary McAllister
#Michael Ballack
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