A sealed transfer window doesn’t prohibit clubs from making signings, so long as the players they’re chasing are unattached and there just so happens to be a wealth of talent still loitering in the freebie basket waiting to be re-housed.
Below are three unemployed soccer stars with the qualities to patch up the gaps these Premier League clubs left untended over the summer.
Victor Valdes – Liverpool
After allowing seasoned Spanish super stopper Pepe Reina to depart for a pittance, the Reds have left themselves perilously short of cover in goal, with only Brad Jones backing flap-happy Simon Mignolet.
Parachuting Valdes in wouldn’t just stave off potential pandemonium when the Belgian’s Aussie understudy was tasked to keep goal if the incumbent number one was struck down by injury or suspension, he could provide genuine competition to start between the sticks.
A net minder of the former Barcelona man’s pedigree would cost north of £10m were he under contract and, if Liverpool wish to realise their 10/1-rated title aspirations, signing a keeper of this calibre wouldn’t hurt.
Hugo Almeida – Queens Park Rangers
Portuguese bruiser Almeida isn’t the type of striker who’ll captivate with his dazzling feet, or heave teams up the division with incomprehensible goal hauls, but as far as bona fide target men go, few are more dependable.
He made the starting line up for A Selecao das Quinas for their first World Cup match this summer and with double-figure tallies recorded across all competitions in each of the past seven campaigns, the 30-year-old is still a dab hand.
The R’s can be backed at 6/4 to be relegated after losing goal-getter in-chief Loic Remy towards the end of the window and failing to replace him; Almeida is well worth a gamble.
Sotiris Ninis – West Ham
Flair players are required en masse if Sam Allardyce is to revolutionise the pragmatic brand of football that guarantees Premier League survival, but, more importantly as far as the Upton Park faithful is concerned, is borderline unwatchable.
A Greek prodigy of bygone years, Ninis stocks guile by the bucket load and has the versatility to play behind the forwards or on the wing if the situation requires.