At the stroke of midnight last night (June 30), a host of well-known players officially became free agents.
For months, we had been expecting this summer’s biggest transfer deal to involve Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe. The 23-year-old has been widely touted for a blockbuster move to Real Madrid when his contract with PSG expired in June.
However, when the French superstar made a dramatic U-turn in May, opting instead to sign a staggeringly large new deal with the Ligue 1 champions.
Other major names such as Gareth Bale and Paul Pogba have also found new homes, after running down their existing deals at Real Madrid and Manchester United respectively.
In the cases of many other free agents, though, their future is very much up in the air. Happy to take their time to consider their options in a lucrative market, some serious talent is now available without a single penny needing to be paid in transfer fees.
Premier League recap: How well do you remember the 2021/22 season?
To illustrate this point, we’ve put together a complete XI of players from across Europe who are now free agents – and it’s not too shabby. Packed full of international quality, we don’t expect any of this line-up to have much trouble finding a new employer come the start of the 2022/23 season.
Let’s now take a look at the XI in full.
GK: Thomas Strakosha
Albanian number one Strakosha played 31 times for Lazio last season. Having departed the Italian capital, the 27-year-old has been subject of interest from a host of Premier League clubs including Fulham, Newcastle and Chelsea.
DR: Dani Alves
Alves’s return to Barcelona last Autumn was a major surprise when it was announced. That said, it turned out to be a smart piece of business for La Blaugrana.
Alves made 17 appearances for the club in 2021/22, but the 39-year-old has now moved on in search of the regular football that he hopes will help him bag a place in Brazil’s World Cup squad later this year.
CB: Alessio Romagnoli
After seven years and two major trophies, Romagnoli’s time at AC Milan has come to an end. The fine form of Fikayo Tomori saw the Rossoneri captain struggle to hold down a first-team spot last season. There’ll be no shortage of suitors for the 27-year-old centre-back, who lifted the Serie A title back in May.
CB: Dan-Axel Zagadou
Still only 23 years of age, Zagadou is a player with massive potential, but terrible luck with injuries. Those fitness woes have impeded his progress at Borussia Dortmund in recent years. However, the French centre-back has his best years ahead of him and could be a major asset if he can stay off the treatment table.
When the veteran Brazilian ended his glittering Real Madrid career by winning the Champions League for the fifth time, reports suggested that a return to his homeland would be next on the agenda for Marcelo. No such deal has been done yet though – and there are plenty of sides in Europe who could benefit from his services.
CM: Jesse Lingard
West Ham look favourites to finally recruit Lingard on a permanent basis following the expiry of his contract at Man United. Now officially a free agent, interest from elsewhere would not be shock, either. After a frustrating end to his career at ‘The Theatre of Dreams’, the 29-year-old is in desperate need of a fresh start.
CM: Christian Eriksen
Eriksen’s heart-warming comeback after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Euro 2020 last summer was one of the highlights of the 2021/22 campaign. During his successful six-month stint with Brentford in the second half of the season, the Dane proved that he’s still a top-class operator.
The 30-year-old has already received an offer from Man United, although Brentford remain hopeful they can convince Eriksen to return to west London.
Another player to have recently departed the Bernabeu, 30-year-old Isco still has plenty to offer. The attacking midfielder has struggled to make his mark in a talent-rich Los Blancos side in recent years, but with Portuguese super-agent Jorge Mendes in his corner, a new opportunity shouldn’t be hard to come by.
RW: Ousmane Dembele
Barcelona could still re-sign French international Dembele, but as it stands right now, he’s free to negotiate with whomever he pleases. Barca parted with a monstrous €135 million for the 25-year-old back in 2017.
Like several of the club’s big-money purchases in recent years, it hasn’t worked out as planned. A huge talent on his day, Dembele’s financial demands are likely to put off a number of would-be suitors.
LW: Luis Suarez
Suarez’s second season at Atletico Madrid wasn’t a patch on his scintillating debut campaign – and he now no longer calls the Spanish capital home.
A return to his native South America with River Plate is seemingly on the cards for the former Liverpool and Barcelona star, who wants to stay sharp in hopes of representing Uruguay at the World Cup this winter.
CF: Paulo Dybala
One of several high-profile names to leave Juventus this summer, 28-year-old Dybala is a proven goalscorer. Having found the net 115 times in 293 appearances in Turin, it shouldn’t be long until the Argentine joins another major European club.
You can check out the XI in full below.
A brilliant XI of free agents as of July 1, 2022
Raphinha deal latest (Via the Football Terrace)