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Five free agents looking to follow Patrice Evra and earn a contract in the Premier League

After Patrice Evra completed his return to the Premier League with West Ham last week, Martyn Cooke looks at five former top-flight players who are currently free agents.

Martyn Cooke

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Photo: Reuters

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.

Alex Song

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.

Sulley Muntari

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.

Samir Nasri

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.

Anderson

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.

Sebastien Bassong

Bassong spent the over a decade in the Premier League with Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City but has been without a club since the summer.

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.

Martyn is currently a PTA and Research Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In addition to his teaching role he is also undertaking a PhD in Sports History that is exploring the origins and development of football in Staffordshire. Prior to working at MMU, Martyn spent a decade operating in the sport and leisure industry in a variety of roles including as a Sports Development Officers, PE Teacher, Football Coach and Operation Manager.

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England hopeful Joe Hart’s latest West Ham error has harpooned his World Cup hopes

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Photo: Getty Images

Everything seemed to finally be falling into place for West Ham’s loanee goalkeeper Joe Hart. Having been benched by David Moyes, he made a man of the match return against Chelsea as he emerged the hero on his return to Stamford Bridge.

Then everything came crashing back to earth in disastrous fashion at the London Stadium on Monday evening.

Hart has gone from a steady and reliable option for one of the best sides in the Premier League and a clear first choice for England to a calamitous liability for a team fighting relegation and his spot on the plane to Russia is in doubt.

With Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland excelling, the latter in the opposite net on Monday night as Hart slipped up by producing his fourth error leading to a goal this season.

(Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Not only did Joe Hart fumble the ball but it was just the latest reminder for Gareth Southgate that he cannot trust his most experienced man in Russia.

He will likely make the 23 man squad, partly out of loyalty and thanks for his role in securing qualification as Southgate has previously suggest would be the case, but also for his experience of such tournaments which could be key for novices like Butland and Pickford.

Burnley‘s Nick Pope may feel aggrieved if he is to miss out, but Hart’s experience and leadership role within the England dressing room may be too important to risk by not selecting him. Even with that in mind though, Southgate has proven himself to be ruthless as he did with his easing out of Wayne Rooney.

Whilst Rooney’s struggle for form saw him dropped from the side, leading to his international retirement, Hart’s can surely only have the same influence.

As Southgate looks to build a new look set-up with the Three Lions, featuring a young back three full of new names such as Harry Maguire, Alfie Mawson and James Tarkowski, Hart will no longer have such a key presence and it seems an opportune time to blood a new first choice in his place.

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West Ham’s decision to retain David Moyes next season is a mistake

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David Moyes is set to remain as West Ham manager, say The Times, as the newspaper has revealed that the Scotsman is in talks to extend his contract beyond the end of the current season.

The ex-Sunderland boss was brought in to the club in November after the dismissal of Slaven Bilic tasked with keeping the Hammers in the Premier League after a woeful start. Five months on, safety is far from secure but looks more likely than not.

Though he is yet to be officially offered a new deal, he is in talks with David Gold and David Sullivan over a long-term deal to secure his future at the London Stadium.

However, the decision to keep Moyes on will not be a popular one with fans. His defensive tactics, questionable signings and lack of substantial improvements on the field have done little to convince.

(Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Coming in to the club with a trashed reputation having taken Sunderland down, Moyes had a point to prove and has done that to some extent by stabilising a club in turmoil off the field with fan protests continuing in the stands and around the ground.

Good results against Southampton and Chelsea were quickly forgotten though as the ex-Everton boss selected a team with five defenders and no natural striker at home in a must win game against second from bottom Stoke City.

His tactical reluctance to attack and stubborn desire to defend first almost harks back to the days of Sam Allardyce, a manager with an acceptable record at the club but who was detested by fans for failing to ‘play the West Ham way’.

His only major signings to date, Jordan Hugill from Preston, who is yet to start, and Patrice Evra on a free transfer, have had next to no impact on the first team and have only fueled criticism of the club’s transfer policy.

The decision appears to do little to aid the club’s owners in their quest to please fans and equally shows a short-term focus on the club’s goals given that many fans remain unconvinced by Moyes.

If he is to stay, Moyes will need backing in the summer in financial terms and that will have to be substantial if it is to entirely convert Moyes’ style in east London to capture the imagination of Irons’ fans.

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‘Alternative threat’ – West Ham forward Andy Carroll’s heroics lead to World Cup pleas

The striker turned hero with his short brief cameo against Stoke.

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Andy Carroll
Photo: Getty Images

Andy Carroll played the role of saviour for West Ham United on Monday night, coming off the bench and scoring a 90th minute equaliser against Stoke City.

The 29-year-old striker was making his first appearance for the Hammers since January and marked his return with a goal of the highest quality.

Carroll tracked Aaron Creswell’s clipped cross to perfection, making sumptuous contact with his left foot and steering an unstoppable volley past a despairing Jack Butland.

It was a fine way to reacquaint himself to the West Ham faithful, sending London Stadium into relieved delirium.

The Hammers had dominated proceedings against Stoke, but struggled to find the crucial breakthrough until the imposing striker was substituted on in the 86th minute.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

And with five matches to play in the Premier League season, there could be ample opportunities for Carroll to stake his claim as one of the strikers selected by Gareth Southgate in his World Cup squad.

The striker has been capped nine times by England, and it is not outlandish to suggest he can make a late bid for Russia. Carroll offers a style of play that no other forward in the current set-up can replicate, with fantastic technical skills combined with remarkably powerful strength.

And buoyed by his late heroics, supporters flocked to make the case for Carroll’s inclusion in Southgate’s side.

And in Euro 2012, the last international tournament Carroll was involved in, the striker scored a crucial goal against Ukraine.

Is there to be more of the same from the West Ham frontman this summer?

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