As the football world continues its dizzying passage through the summer months in the midst of the transfer gossip tornado, it’s only right to spare a thought for those players who have been deemed unworthy of new deals at their clubs – especially if you’re one of the Premier League’s shrewder managers.
Matthieu Flamini – released by AC Milan
The Frenchman has discussed a desire to return to England and could be precisely the kind of snarling midfield tackler that former employers Arsenal – 18/1 to win the Premier League with a +8 point advantage in the divisional handicap – have largely lacked since he left the club in 2008.
Despite making just 15 starts in 2012/13, Flamini was the equal fourth highest league scorer for the Rossoneri, also proving his reading of the game to be of the highest calibre by averaging more interceptions per game than any of his teammates.
Yossi Benayoun – released by Chelsea
A vastly experienced midfield schemer that’s more than capable of snaffling goals as well as playing in his attacking colleagues.
Benayoun had an injury curtailed campaign last term and at the age of 33 isn’t getting any younger, but could be an ideal one-year contract signing for a new Premier League side or Championship promotion hopeful looking to add some classy depth to their squad.
Ciprian Marica – released by Schalke 04
Romanian international forward Marica contributed six goals in 19 appearances for Schalke last season as they secured Champions League football for another year, but was deemed surplus to requirements in Gelsenkirchen.
His recent hat-trick for his country in a friendly win over Trinidad and Tobago took his international tally to an impressive 21 strikes in 61 games and served notice that the 27-year-old still has goals in his boots.
Franco Di Santo – released by Wigan Atheltic
It was cruel that the Argentinean’s finest campaign in the English top flight – during which he earned a national team call-up – ended in the double ignominy of relegation and release.
Still just 24 and replete with plenty of top flight experience he’s been linked with West Brom, Swansea and Lazio already this summer.
Chris Baird – released by Fulham
Capable of playing anywhere across the back four, he spent last term in the middle of the park for Fulham and put in some commanding performances alongside Steve Sidwell before he began to be frozen out of the side at the end of February.
Baird can offer the kind of solid defence-minded presence ideal for a side like newly-promoted Crystal Palace – 27/20 to avoid the drop in 2013/14 – looking to shore up their defence with an experienced Premier League practitioner.