A host of Premier League veterans are out of contract at the end of the season - more than 15 names who could still grace most top teams across Europe.
Here we take a defensively-themed look at the top five top-flight players available on a free at the end of the 2013/14 season.
5. Younes Kaboul, Tottenham
Kaboul has been somewhat forgotten at White Hart Lane, with consistent injury issues in the last couple of years. However, he soon won the Spurs fans over in his second spell with some commanding performances steadying the back line, until injury crept up once again.
So far this season Kaboul has made nine appearances, with the majority coming in the Europa League. In those games Spurs have only conceded 10 goals – six coming in the massacre at Manchester City – another 18 have been shipped in the Premier League since his absence.
It’s a shame for a player so talented to have played so little. Kaboul has to get fit to prove his worth at Spurs and earn a deal, but at 28 - and with a huge amount of talent - he won’t be short of offers come the end of the season.
4. Patrice Evra, Manchester United
France international Evra has been one of Manchester United’s biggest characters in recent years, and is well respected by the Old Trafford faithful.
He has had a trophy laden time at United in the nine years since he joined, but in recent seasons a dip in form and the appointment of David Moyes has put his position in doubt, with rumours of Leighton Baines replacing him surfacing again this week.
However, Evra has been back to his best in the last couple of years, chipping in with seven goals in the last season and a half. But at 32, and with United only having a policy of offering 12-month deals to players over 30, Evra may see his future back in his native France.
With no news of a new deal halfway into January, a queue of clubs including Monaco and Galatasaray will be gaining some genuine quality and experience should they sign him.
3. Barcary Sanga, Arsenal
Arsenal’s ‘Mr Reliable’ has held the right-back spot for the best part of six years at Arsenal. Sagna possesses one of the best crosses in the Premier League and has been crucial to Arsenal with his versatility at centre-back and right-back.
This season he has made 26 appearances in a much-improved defence. At 30, Sagna can still go on for a good number of years, and is now being pushed by the ever-improving Carl Jenkinson.
It has been widely speculated that Sagna has failed to agree terms in the latest round of contract talks, but if Sagna were to leave then Arsenal will be greatly weakened. With other clubs circling like vultures, Sagna should have no trouble in taking his pick of Europe’s elite, and pushing to get the trophies that have proved so elusive at Arsenal.
2. John Terry, Chelsea
Captain, leader legend says the Chelsea banner at Stamford Bridge – W*******, ******* and ******* say some opposition fans. Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Terry has been one of the most consistent and best defenders to have graced the Premier League.
Terry was never blessed with pace and raw power like other, more cultured defenders (see Mr Ledley King and Rio Ferdinand) but what he lacks in speed, he makes up for in football intelligence, a great ability to read the game and determination which is second to none.
At 33, Terry’s best days might be behind him, but he’s already proving the doubters wrong with 28 games under his belt this season – the same number he made throughout the entirety of last season.
Will this be enough to earn Terry a new deal that the Chelsea faithful crave? If not, there are plenty of clubs across Europe rumoured to want him on their books.
1. Nemanja Vidic, Manchester United
The Serbian has been the cornerstone of United’s success over the last seven years. Other players know that whatever they bring to the battle, Nemanja is up to it - and nine times out of 10 he wins it.
Vidic has improved slowly this season, and with the younger set of Johnny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling vying for places, and Rio Ferdinand restricted to seven performances, the smart money is on a new deal for the 32-year-old.
The experience Vidic brings to the team is invaluable, but with murmurings of unhappiness at Old Trafford, and Manchester United not quite the force they once were, some of Europe’s finest will be looking to tempt Vidic with one last pay-day and a chance for a fresh start.
Honourable mentions to: Rio Ferdinand, Tomas Rosicky, Michael Carrick and Jonny Heitinga.
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