West Ham United confirmed the signing of former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra early last week as manager David Moyes was left desperately looking for a left-back following Arthur Masuaku’s six-game ban.
The Frenchman had been a free agent since his acrimonious departure from Marseille, where his contract was terminated after he kicked a supporter following a pitch-side confrontation prior to a Europa League match in November, but he is unlikely to be anything more than back-up to Aaron Cresswell.
However, Evra was not the only former Premier League star who was looking for a new club.
Here The Boot Room looks at five former top-flight players who are currently free agents.
The Cameroonian midfielder was once one of the most sought after defensive midfielders in Europe after rising to prominence at Arsenal and agreeing a big-money move to Barcelona in 2012.
However, his spell in Catalonia was ill-fated and he has become something of an unwanted quantity over the subsequent six years and he has been without a club since being released by Rubin Kazan at the start of the year.
Song is still only 30 and could still have something to offer for clubs in the bottom half of the table.
It seems a lifetime since Sulley Muntari was plying his trade for Portsmouth at Fratton Park and the central midfielder has certainly had a prosperous career in Italy.
He won the Champions League under Jose Mourinho whilst at Inter Milan in 2010 and has also appeared for AC Milan and Udinese prior to a sharp decline in prominence.
The 32-year-old undoubtedly possesses a wealth of experience and has been without a club since suffering relegation and subsequently being released by Pescara in the summer.
Another one of Arsene Wenger’s former protégé’s, Nasri was once one of the most prominent creative midfielders in the Premier League during spells with Arsenal and Manchester City.
However, the Frenchman was surplus to requirements following the arrival of Pep Guardiola and was shipped out on loan to Sevilla in 2016 before joining Turkish side Antalyaspor when his contract expired.
Nasri made just eight appearances for the club, which became embroiled in financial turmoil, before being released six months into his deal.
Only 30, the Frenchman certainly has something to offer in the Premier League if clubs are willing to meet his wage demands.
The Brazilian midfielder won four Premier League titles, the Champions League and two League Cup’s during a seven-and-a-half-year spell under Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.
Manchester United spent £26 million in the summer of 2007 to secure Anderson’s surfaces but he never truly fulfilled his potential in England prior to returning to his homeland with Internacional in 2015.
However, Anderson has suffered two consecutive relegations with two different clubs in Brazil and was released at the turn of the year.
He does not turn 30 until August, although Premier League clubs that are in a relegation battle may want to steer clear if his recent record is anything to go by.
The central defender is certainly no longer the force that he once was when Harry Redknapp spent £8 million to bring him to White Hart Lane in the summer of 2009 but could still have something to offer for a Championship, or possibly a bottom-half Premier League, side.
However, any potential suitors will also need to invest in a bus pass for the Cameroonian – he was banned from driving after he was caught speeding at 110mph in October.
West Ham fans criticise Mark Noble after Liverpool defeat
The veteran midfielder struggled against Jurgen Klopp’s side.
A new era has dawned at West Ham but Mark Noble remains in the heart of midfield despite all the changes made by Manuel Pellegrini.
The Hammers skipper is very much like Marmite. While many believe it is a travesty he is continuously overlooked by England, others would not be surprised to see the Faroe Islands snub an opportunity for him to feature in their midfield.
Fans are certainly a fickle bunch and West Ham supporters slotted into the latter category in their views towards Noble after Sunday’s dismantling at the hands of Liverpool, which leaves the Hammers rooted to the bottom of the table at the embryonic stage of the Premier League season.
Up against an organised and effective midfield, Noble did not impress in his performances and many fans are now calling for the skipper to be dropped for this weekend’s hosting of Bournemouth as a result, in what will be Pellegrini’s first match at the London Stadium.
Felipe hasn't shown much. Noble lost. Once again arnautovic is best player by a mile.
— Jordan? (@MichailDiCanio) August 12, 2018
Mark noble is not cut out for the premier league anymore
— Sam Allen ? (@samlallen_) August 12, 2018
Mark Noble the weakest link in that Midfield.
Very impressed with Anderson so far… Want to see more of him going forward
— Club de West Ham (@ClubdeWestHam) August 12, 2018
Noble. Genuinely awful.
— Alan (@_AlanWHUAlan_) August 12, 2018
REAL LIFE PEOPLE THOUGHT NOBLE WAS GOOD ENOUGH TO START
— Jamie??????? (@JamieCOYl) August 12, 2018
It doesn’t matter how many signings West Ham make. It doesn’t matter how much money they spend in the process. What matters is that whoever is in charge continues to play Mark Noble. If you’re West Ham on Football Manager, getting him out of the team is the first thing you do!
— WK (@Wilkinnss) August 12, 2018
I genuinely think I could write an entire dissertation on why mark noble should not be starting for West Ham United
— Sam Allen ? (@samlallen_) August 12, 2018
Credit to West Ham for letting Make-a-Wish winner Mark Noble start in midfield against Liverpool
— Chris Edele (@ronalgringo) August 12, 2018
One winner, one loser for Liverpool as they trounced West Ham 4-0
Liverpool secured an impressive 4-0 opening day win over West Ham for their record equaling biggest ever win for a first league game in the Premier League era and it was an impressive day for many men.
Some in particular stood out, whilst those not involved may be fearing for how they can break into this team. So early on in the season, there is plenty at stake for many players in the squad.
Here are the key men affected by Sunday’s display:
Winner: James Milner
The dominant force in Liverpool’s midfield, Milner bossed every aspect of the game from his position. Creating more chances, covering more ground and playing more passes than anyone else, he was at the heart of almost everything that Liverpool created and was fundamental to their victory.
With Fabinho and Naby Keita having arrived this summer, it was a strong performance to prove a point that he warrants a regular place in the side and will not have done the likes of Fabinho or Jordan Henderson any favours as they look to work their way back into the team.
Loser: Dejan Lovren
Returning from World Cup duty injured could have some big consequences for the Croatian, particularly as Joe Gomez stepped up and filled his shoes comfortably in his absence. The youngster looked secure in his role alongside Virgil Van Dijk, making more blocks and clearances than any other player.
“He is not fit. Let me say it like this, last year he already had a few problems with that but he could obviously play – and played really good. Now in the World Cup, [playing] three times [for] 120 minutes it got a bit worse, but I am pretty sure it will settle in the next one, two or three weeks. In the end, it is serious but not that serious, so it’s not that we need to be afraid that it will take him until whenever. In the moment he is not available, that’s true.”
With a prolonged spell on the sidelines potentially ahead of the defender, Lovren may fear for his future role. Having ended the season as undisputed first choice, that may change if Gomez can cement himself in the team.
Three things Liverpool fans learnt after victory over West Ham
Here is what we learned from the game…
There will be no shortage of goals at Anfield
Everyone saw just how prolific Mohamed Salah could be last season and it was no surprise to see him opening the team’s account for the 2018/19 campaign.
What will have pleased fans even more though will have been what came next with a brace for Sadio Mane and another strike for late substitute Daniel Sturridge.
Liverpool’s attack has long looked threatening but with a fit and in form Sturridge providing depth and the likes of Naby Keita creating opportunities from deep, it really isn’t hard to imagine any Premier League side being able to stop them.
Naby Keita was worth the wait
Liverpool fans may feel like the last 12 months waiting for Naby Keita’s Anfield debut in competitive action have been an eternity but he has immediately showed why Jurgen Klopp and co. were prepared to be patient with a dominant display.
Keita covered every blade of grass for the Reds as he tracked deep when required but spent much of his time in a more advanced role, behind the front three and looking to feed them in. He may not have been cheap, costing £48 million, but it is clear that he’s the man Klopp wants to build his midfield around.
Never write off James Milner
The most passes, the most chances created, by assist, the most defensive aerial duels won and the most completed crosses.
It may sound like the statistics of a young midfield engine but instead it was experienced veteran James Milner showing that he should still be starting for Liverpool week in and week out.
Following the arrivals of Fabinho and Keita, many questioned what role the 32-year-old would play as he heads into the final year of his current contract and after only one game he’s made his point.
Exclusive: George Williams on his Fulham spell, Euro 2016 and two year ambition
We caught up with the former MK Dons and Fulham prospect, now plying his trade for Forest Green.
Exclusive: Christian Doidge discusses new season, career highlights and transfer speculation
The Forest Green Rovers striker spoke to The Boot Room ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
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The full-back spoke exclusively to The Boot Room as he looks ahead to the Bluebird's top flight return.
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