The transfer window is shortly to reopen, so it’s little surprise to see the papers coming out with their lists of the best players available on a free transfer this summer.
Indeed, this close-season rates as a particular treasure trove for bargain hunting football clubs, with myriad high-profile players contracts expiring: Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira, Barcelona’s Daniel Alves and Marseille’s Andre Ayew to name but three.
However, contrary to the popular saying, it’s always best to look a gift horse in the mouth, especially when it comes to high class footballers whose previous employers have let their deals run down.
The following are a selection of likely free agents this summer who may be better swerved than signed in the eyes of news.bwin.com.
Anyone acquainted with Aston Villa in 2013/14 would have found it hard to countenance the fact that ‘Concrete Ron’ was about to go all the way to the World Cup semi-finals with Louis van Gaal’s unfancied Netherlands.
Yet do so he did and the Dutchman returned to Britain to find himself being linked to a reunion with his sometime national team manager at Old Trafford.
A season on he hasn’t exactly advanced his claims for recognition as a top centre-half, with a recent horror show at Southampton still fresh in the memory
Like Vlaar Alves has been linked with a move to Old Trafford as his contract at Camp Nou runs down. He remains one of the finest attacking right-backs in the business.
Likely to command a huge wage that vastly dwarves his defensive contribution wherever he goes, the Brazilian’s deficiencies will be magnified with no Sergio Busquets there to sweep up and he could go on to emulate his unfortunate countryman Maicon if signed by a Premier League side.
Recognised as one of the best full-backs around at Internazionale a couple of years prior to arriving at the Etihad, Alves’ Selecao predecessor lasted just one seldom-picked season at Manchester City.
Rafael van der Vaart
There are a certain school of Premier League small fry that think mercurial midfielders such as the former Spurs star are exactly what they need to take themselves to the next level.
Hull City are among those that can attest to the fact that there are at least ten Hatem Ben Arfas for every Christophe Dugarry.
Talented though the 32-year-old undoubtedly was during a White Hart Lane tenure that saw him substituted after 75 minutes in virtually every outing, he has failed to make much of an impact at a Hamburg side facing Bundesliga relegation this season.