A big summer is ahead for some of the Premier Leagues best and worst sides, but which players should they be on the look out for if they don’t want to spend the big money?
The 34 year old goalkeeper is now in his 10th season at Selhurst Park, and has arguably had his best season to date. Having helped Palace back into the Premier League last season, the shot-stopping Argentinian has proved himself to be a handful to beat for a number of sides, notable against title chasing Chelsea less than a month ago. Having appeared in almost every single game of Palace’s last seven seasons, Speroni has become a club legend. Despite this, with Wayne Hennessey lurking in the background and with his contract expiring this summer, Palace have yet to offer a new deal to the veteran, he may be on the look out.
One for : Leicester, Burnley, Stoke, Sunderland
Still only 31 years old, Bacary Sagna looks set to leave Arsenal this summer. Still with bags of pace and energy down the right hand side, Sagna could offer strength to any side he joins. A regular in Arsenal’s side doesn’t come without some quality, and that’s certainly what the Frenchman brings to the table. With competition from elsewhere, Sagna has also managed to keep his right back position in the French national side, and looks set to feature in the World Cup, which could be seen as an audition. The problem with Sagna is that he appears not to want any kind of wage cut at a new club, so whoever looks at him will have to cough up the £100,000-a-week he believes he deserves.
One for : Fenerbahce, Manchester City, PSG
Having just turned 33 years old, captain, leader, legend John Terry is being faced with the possibility of leaving Chelsea. Another one who will demand a high wage, I can’t see Terry leaving Stamford Bridge. After having one of the best seasons of his career this season, if Terry is too leave there will be high demand from the clubs at the top of world football right now. Lacking pace in his older days, JT’s positioning and defensive work has increased with experience. Harshly left out of the PFA Team of the Season this year, he is still a top talent.
One for : AS Monaco, Galatasaray
Having been an integral part of Manchester City’s title winning season two years ago, and a regular in the England squad, the now 31 year old struggles to make any appearances, just 8 in this Premier League season. With the money City can throw at anyone in world football, someone of Lescott’s calibre is more than likely to be thrown even further down the pecking order. With his contract coming to and end, it looks more than likely that he will leave come the summer, plenty of sides will still be in for his signature. Like many on this list, he’ll come with a hefty wage from his City days, but he still possesses pace and strength to play in the top division.
One for : Newcastle, West Ham, Everton
The man who now has 107 England caps to his name is one person you wouldn’t think would be anywhere near free agency. Having played just 15 league games this season in Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge, Cole looks like he may be offered a new extension, but at 33 years old, and Luke Shaw on Chelsea’s radar, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cole leave in the summer. Another hefty wage fee, but clubs would be queuing up to sign the veteran, still possessing bags of pace and tactical awareness that has allowed him to still play in a title chasing side.
One for : Liverpool, Galatasaray, NY Red Bulls
After moving back to his boyhood club last season, Joe Cole had an immediate impact at Upton Park. Despite that, this season Cole’s opportunities have been very limited, with just thirteen league appearances this season, and eight of them off of the bench. Having moved significantly down the pecking order, and with West Ham almost sure to strengthen again in the summer, he could see himself fall even further down if he signed a new contract.
One for : LOSC Lille
Since Lampard nearly left at the back end of last season, his appearances have been limited to a large number of minutes sat on the bench. For the first time in 11 seasons it looks like Super Frank will score less than double figures in the league. As much as Lampard wants to end his career at Stamford Bridge, like Lescott, with the money Chelsea can throw at a new central midfielder, Lampard will just continue to get less and less gametime, but might continue to win silverware at the London club.
One for : LA Galaxy, West Ham, Melbourne Heart
The Swedish midfielder earns a place in my team for a number of reasons, but there’s one that stands out. Free kicks. A dead ball specialist if there ever was one, Larsson has marshalled the Sunderland midfield since moving there in 2011. Only 28 years old, Larsson has at least five more years playing in the Premier League if he chooses too, but could be a top player in another nation. With an eye for a pass, Larsson creates tonnes of chances for any front line, and would fit in almost anywhere.
One for : Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, Borussia Monchengladbach
At just 24 years old, Albrighton is the youngest player in my free agent XI. Many will wonder why I didn’t go with Giggs, Bellamy etc, but I want to look at players who teams can look to sign. Albrighton is still young, and a pacey winger with bags of skills, he’s a talent. I’ll be surprised if Villa don’t tie him down, despite only handing him just 18 league appearances all season. When he made his mark on the 2011-12 season, Albrighton seemed a cert for Villa for years to come and a potential England career ahead of him. Injuries last season really stunted his growth, but he still has all the ability to a be a Premier League regular.
One for : Leicester, Burnley, Wigan
At 33 years old, Eto’o was seen as a last gasp grab from Mourinho when all his other targets fell through. Having come in and scored 12 goals this season in all competitions, he’s shown how he’s probably past the top, top level at Chelsea, but still very adapt to playing in the big leagues. Having taken a massive pay cut to join Chelsea from Russian side Anzhi, Eto’o will surely not accept a second pay cut in a year. I don’t expect him to stay in the Premier League, solely as the interest just isn’t there, and Chelsea in the market for at least one striker, his play time may be limited.
One for : Real Mallorca, Toronto FC, New York City FC
The great Dane doesn’t come anywhere without some controversy. After leaving Arsenal to join Juventus last season, Bendtner proclaimed that he’d “never play for Arsenal again”. Well, he was left eating his hat when Wenger kept hold of him last summer and gave him to odd FA Cup here and there. Some of his 12 appearances this season haven’t been to bad, netting twice, both at important times for the Gunners. The self-proclaimed “best player in the world” is now 26 years old and has only netted double figures in three seasons, one being in the Championship. Not a prolific goalscorer, but if you can afford the £100,000 he wants and would love a post-match interview laugh, Bendtner’s the one for you.
One for : FC Copenhagen, Toronto FC, Juventus
And that’s it! A full, 4-4-2 team of players who’s contracts run out at the end of the season. Other players who could’ve made the team include Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Chris Brunt, Phil Bardsley, Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and many more who could all be looking for new clubs come August.