With less than a week to go before the transfer deadline, Premier League clubs are busily dusting down their fax machines and preparing for a hectic last few days.
But not all business has to be concluded by midnight on the 31st August. For these 11 players the transfer window lasts all season.
Released by their clubs in the summer, the haggard old pros and young whippersnappers that make up the free transfer list will be frantically searching for a new club.
Trials, training weeks and performance-related contracts will result, and the majority of these players will find a club.
But while they’re still out of contract, Premier League clubs can pick themselves up a bargain.
Last year the likes of Demba Ba, Brad Friedel and Andrea Pirlo all moved on free transfers, and all enjoyed impressive seasons.
Who will follow suit this year?
Goalkeeper – Craig Gordon
The Scottish international cost Sunderland £9m in 2007 – the highest ever Premier League fee paid for a goalkeeper until David De Gea moved to Manchester United.
Undoubtedly talented, Gordon was once rated as one of the top flight’s most gifted shot-stoppers, but horrible luck with injury cut short his Sunderland career. If fit, an excellent Premier League goalkeeper.
Right-back – Michel Salgado
The former-Real Madrid defender quit Blackburn after their relegation from the Premier League.
Age has now caught up with one of the most committed fullbacks in the game, but Salgado remains a good punt for those looking for a reliable option as cover.
Left-back – Fabio Grosso
The former-Juventus fullback is a World Cup winner with Italy in 2006, and one of the most stylish defenders in the game.
Now 34-years-old, Grosso has lost that languid running style that disguised surprising pace, but the free agent could definitely help out several Premier League teams.
Centre-back – Paul Scharner
The popular Austrian has been a Premier League regular since 2006, but is out of contract after he was released by West Brom.
Still just 32-years-old, Scharner would be a good addition for a number of teams requiring cover in the middle of the pitch.
Centre-back – Danny Gabbidon
Released by QPR after the west London club narrowly avoided relegation, Gabbidon is now looking for a new club.
The 33-year-old has proven to be a reliable Premier League performer, but might have to drop down the divisions.
Right-midfield – Nigel Reo-Coker
More of a centre-midfielder, but Nigel Reo-Coker could put in a shift down the right hand side of this free transfer XI.
The former-Aston Villa player left Bolton after the Trotters were relegated from the Premier League. The industrious midfielder is still just 28 years old, and would be worth a punt for most mid-table Premier League clubs.
Centre-midfield – Owen Hargreaves
The England international has had a horrible few years. Terrible luck with injuries has curtailed a promising career, but Hargreaves has shown tremendous dedication to try and get himself back on the pitch.
At his best, one of England’s finest holding midfielders, Hargreaves will be in high demand if he can prove his fitness. That’s a huge if though.
Centre-midfield – Michael Ballack
The former-Chelsea and Bayern Munich midfielder is available on a free after his contract with Bayer Leverkusen expired.
An imposing midfield presence and skilful distributor, Ballack has no plans to retire just yet. Moves to the MLS, China and the UAE have been mooted, but Ballack can still cut it in Europe’s top leagues.
Left-midfield – Harry Kewell
After returing home to Oz and the A League, Australia’s greatest ever football player is back in the country where he became a household name.
The 33-year-old winger is keen to get back into football, and reportedly had a number of trials in England, including talks with Stoke and Blackburn, but is yet to find a club.
Striker - Alessandro Del Piero
The Italy legend is one of the finest players of the last 15 years. A 19-year career with Juventus came to an end this summer, with Del Piero looking to explore his options abroad.
The Premier League is a possible destination, and Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs have all been linked with the Juventus all-time top scorer.
Striker – Michael Owen
The England striker is out of contract after his deal with Manchester United expired.
After spells with Real Madrid, Newcastle, Liverpool and United, Owen is keen to remain in the English top flight. But so far, the England striker hasn’t been granted that one final chance.
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