From Pepe to Zlatan Ibrahimovic via Jess Navas and Jan Kirchhoff, there is plenty of talent out there for free if clubs are willing to take a chance
Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas
If a player is a free agent in the middle of a transfer window, you typically because something is unattractive about them: for the most proportion, it will either be because they are no good or because of their age. Iker Casillas is 36 old for a sportsperson but not inevitably scrapheap period where goalkeepers are concerned. Casillas aimed his two years at Porto this summer after his contract expired, a moment he marked by posting a clip of him slowly strolling into the sea. Presumably this was either a symbolic act representing his departure from Portuguese coasts or a touching tribute to Reginald Perrin. Either style, it displayed that he is off to something new, and even at his advanced age he will be useful for someone, even if it is for his keen knowledge of 1970 s British sitcoms.
Football is supposed to be about fun. Winning, sure. Skill, utterly. But most of all, fun. So with that in mind, we implore person, somewhere to sign Pepe as soon as possible. The Portuguese bruiser is no longer a Real Madrid player and is open to offers, with PSG, Besiktas and a clutch of other clubs who have a slightly unhinged but ultimately very entertaining centre-back-shaped hole in their defense. As often with players who are rather rambunctious on the pitch, Pepe is apparently a perfectly sensible, approachable chap off it, but has perhaps the most emphatic example of white line fever in football history. And who wouldnt want that in their squad?
Defence: John Terry
You wonder if John Terry unhappiness managing to force through that extra year at Chelsea. Sure, he got himself another Premier League winners medal but he barely played as Antonio Contes broadly unchanged side stormed to the title. Had he left 12 months ago, he might have secured a two-year contract somewhere half-decent, enjoyed another full season of contributing in a meaningful way to a team, and perhaps been left with more options for the latter days of his career. Of course, he may still have some of that but it is seducing to think of it as a year wasted. So where will he pop up at the start of next season? It is hard to see him playing near the upper part of the Premier League again but one imagines he will have some choices to construct, and pretty soon.
Defence: Gal Clichy
At some points last season Pep Guardiola appeared exhaustively unhappy with life, a human haunted by the vague notion that hed made a mistake. Plenty of that ought to do with the Manchester City defence, partly assembled by him but partly inherited, an ageing backline featuring players past their best. That was particularly true at full-back, where Bacary Sagna, Pablo Zabaleta and Gal Clichy have been cut free as Guardiola attempts to style a squad more in keeping with his own image. But simply because some of them werent good enough for City, that doesnt inevitably mean they might not be useful for another side, although Liverpools reported offer of a two-year contract might say more about their other options than Clichys ability.
Right wing-back: Jess Navas
It remains one of the great mysteries of our time that Jess Navas clocked up 183 appearances over four seasons with Manchester City. The last hour he scored a league aim was in January 2014, and he recorded two assists in 35 games last season. The statistics for how many times he ran down the wing and wellied the ball straight into the opposition left-backs shins are, alas , not available. Still, what Navas will do very happily is work hard, run quickly and provide a doughty presence on the flank for someone that needs it. Last seasons jaunts at right-back indicate that he could do a reasonable job as a wing-back, and in an age where three-man defences are not so much fashionable but available on most high streets, he may be a decent alternative for someone there.
Central midfield: Jan Kirchhoff
You can identify a broad range of reasons for Sunderlands decay and ultimate demise, but somewhere in the mixture must be the thwart campaign suffered by Jan Kirchhoff. The big German didnt play a minute of first-team football after December, and since he was one of the key humen in the great escape as provide guidance to Sam Allardyce the previous season, his absence with hamstring then knee traumata blew a big hole in the side of David Moyess attempts to do similar. Its his adaptability that makes him attractive, most at home as a defensive midfielder but also able to play at the back, and if a team are prepared to look past a season of questionable fitness, they may try to reawaken the player who was so promising on Bayern Munichs books.
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