James Rodriguez to Everton: Who are the most valuable players to move on a free transfer?

Rodriguez makes the list

Everton could well have pulled off the best bit of transfer business this summer. 

According to reports, they secured the signing of James Rodriguez on a free transfer. 

The former Real Madrid star was originally said to have cost around £20 million, but it seems Carlo Ancelotti got his man for nothing. 

Considering Rodriguez has a current transfer worth of €32 million, that's quite the bargain. 

It also got us thinking... what are the 'most valuable' free transfers in history?

Or, in simple terms, who are the players with the highest transfer worth, who have moved for nothing?

Make sense? Good. 

Rodriguez is a valuable free transfer

Check out the top 30 and their worth at the time (per Transfermarkt) below:   

30. Maxi Rodriguez | Atletico Madrid to Liverpool | €18m | 2009

29. David Beckham | Real Madrid to LA Galaxy | €19.8m | 2007

28. Henrikh Mkhitaryan | Arsenal to AS Roma | €20m | 2020

27. Mario Balotelli | Marseille to Brescia | 2019 | €20m 

26. Dani Parejo | Valencia to Villarreal | 2020 | €20m 

Parejo moved between two Spanish clubs

25. Diego Godin | Atletico Madrid to Inter | 2019 | €20m

24. Mario Balotelli | Nice to Marseille | 2018 | €20m 

23. Jack Wilshere | Arsenal to West Ham | 2018 | €20m

22. Yevgen Konoplyanka | Dnipro to Sevilla | 2015 | €20m

21. Sami Khedira | Real Madrid to Juventus | 2015 | €20m 

Khedira swapped RM for Juve

20. Keisuke Honda | CSKA Moscow to AC Milan | 2013 | €20m

19. Fernando Llorente | Athletic Bilbao to Juventus | 2013 | €20m

18. Michael Ballack | Chelsea to Bayer Leverkusen | 2010 | €20m

17. Luis Figo | Real Madrid to Inter | 2005 | €20m

16. Yacine Brahimi | Porto to Al Rayyan | 2019 | €21m 

Brahimi left Porto in 2018

15. Joe Cole | Chelsea to Liverpool | 2010 | €21m

14. Hector Herrera | Porto to Atletico Madrid | 2019 | €22m

13. Samuel Eto'o | Anzhi to Chelsea | 2013 | €22m

12. Willian | Chelsea to Arsenal | 2020 | €22.5m

11. Thomas Meunier | PSG to Borussia Dortmund | 2020 | €24m

Dortmund got a good deal

10. Ander Herrera | Man Utd to PSG | 2019 | €25m

9. Santi Mina | Valencia to Celta Vigo | 2019 | €30m

8. Emre Can | Liverpool to Juventus | 2018 | €30m

7. James Rodriguez | Real Madrid to Everton | 2020 | €32m

6. Adrien Rabiot | PSG to Juventus | 2019 | €35m 

Rabiot was an expensive move

5. Michael Ballack | Bayern Munich to Chelsea | 2009 | €35m

4. Aaron Ramsey | Arsenal to Juventus | 2019 | €40m

3. Leon Goretzka | Schalke to Bayern Munich | 2018 | €40m

2. Stefan de Vrij | Lazio to Inter | 2018 | €40m

1. Robert Lewandowski | Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich | €50m 

Lewandowski was the most valuable free transfer in history

Well, that's quite an interesting list, isn't it? 

There's little surprise perhaps though, that Lewandowski sits top. Everybody knew just how good he was when he swapped Dortmund for Bayern.

It's arguably the Bundesliga club's best bit of transfer business this century. 

Lewandowski is a proven goalscorer

Further down the list though, it's surprising some teams let their big stars go. 

Herrera would have still done a job at Man United if he wasn't shipped off to PSG, while Arsenal securing Willian from Chelsea is a major coup. 

Even the legendary Figo was a free transfer in 2005, swapping Real Madrid for Inter Milan, while the likes of Balotelli and Ballack both appear more than once. 

Figo was once a free transfer

Then there's Rodriguez, who sits seventh on the list. If those names above him are any indication, he could turn out to be quite the signing for Everton. 

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