The Premier League Free Agent XI, feat. Man United and Villa stars
It seems that every day the back pages of the papers are reporting on a fresh transfer rumour or the latest development in a players’ possible move. Our attention is always on the huge money deals. Is a club going to pay way over the odds for Raheem Sterling? Is David De Gea going to swap Manchester for Madrid? Is Gareth Bale going to swap Madrid for Manchester?
Clubs are looking for a good bargain. A striker that will score them 15 goals to keep them in the league. A defender that organises that back line so well that they qualify for the Champions League on goal difference. A goalkeeper that will make that all important save that wins them the league.
But clubs don’t always have to splash the cash to build a strong squad. Some players will be out of contract this summer and will be absolutely free to sign. So, I’ve comprised a team of Premier League players who will be free agents at the end of the season.
Goalkeeper – Gerhard Tremmel
The Swansea ‘keeper has played a reliable second fiddle to both Michel Vorm and ?ukasz Fabia?ski since joining the Welsh side in 2011. Tremmel, who played at youth level for Bayern Munich, played his part in Swansea’s historic 2012/13 season where he kept clean sheets against Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. Also that season, the German was crucial to the Swansea side that won the Capital One Cup, keeping four clean sheets and conceding just four goals in the cup.
Right back – Micah Richards
A mixture of injury setbacks and fierce competition with Pablo Zableta has restricted the Manchester City youth graduate to just 19 first team appearances in all competitions since the beginning of the 2012/13 season. This season, the right back joined Serie A’s Fiorentina on loan and has played just 10 times for them. The 26-year old is attracting attention from a variety of Premier League teams, including newcomers Bournemouth and Watford.
Centre back – Ron Vlaar
The man who they call ‘Roncrete’ at Villa Park attracted attention after his impressive performances for the Netherlands in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The Villa captain’s display against Argentina especially attracted the interest of Manchester United, Arsenal, Spurs and Southampton. With the centre back looking unlikely to agree a new deal with Villa, those same clubs and undoubtedly more will be looking to secure the services of the Dutchman.
Centre back – Kolo Touré
The Ivorian has been in and out of Liverpool’s defence this season as Brendan Rodgers shuffled his back line around to deal with poor form, injuries and suspensions. His impressive performance in Liverpool’s Champions League game at Real Madrid this season showed that despite the occasional error, Touré’s experience can be invaluable to any side.
Left back – Glen Johnson
Another Liverpool defender that looks set to leave Anfield as his contract expires at the end of this season. The England international played his part in Liverpool’s title challenge last season, playing 29 games and helping keep nine clean sheets. The former Portsmouth full back also has 54 England caps, making his debut back in 2003. Johnson has fallen down the pecking order at Anfield and rumours suggest a return to West Ham, where he started his career, is likely.
Right midfield – James Milner
The ever reliable James Milner has had heaps of praise from his manager Manuel Pellegrini this season. The City boss says he is “a guy with big balls” and a “complete player”. Yet it seems Pellegrini is allowing one of his only home grown players to leave this summer for nothing. Milner has been arguably City’s best and most consistent performer this season with Arsenal and Liverpool rumoured to be leading the race to sign the England international.
Central midfield – Tom Cleverley
There will certainly be a longer queue for Tom Cleverley’s services this season than if his contract had expired last season. The 25-year-old was often a scapegoat for Manchester United’s poor showing last season, but at Aston Villa, particularly under Tim Sherwood, the United loanee has shown some impressive form. Cleverley scored goals in three consecutive games before the weekend and could be pushing for an England recall, something those 10,000 people who signed a petition to have him excluded from the World Cup squad won’t have too many complaints about next time around.
Central midfield – Joey Barton
The always controversial Joey Barton could leave QPR as they try to cut their wage bill to adjust to life in the Championship. Barton has been one of Rangers’ most consistent performers in a team that looked to be more concerned with paycheques rather than points. The QPR captain’s leadership would be welcome at any club looking to avoid relegation and, who knows, if he heads back to Marseille, we might get to hear that French accent once more.
Left midfield – Scott Sinclair
Scott Sinclair swapped regular first team football at Swansea City for sporadic first team football at Manchester City when he moved to the Etihad Stadium in 2012. Whether he went for the money or was promised more football than the 19 appearances (16 as a substitute) that he’s made, we’ll never know, but in the last couple of seasons, West Brom and Aston Villa have both given him a chance. As with Tom Cleverley, Sinclair has shown some impressive form under Tim Sherwood who has expressed his desire to secure Sinclair permanently.
Striker – Darren Bent
Paul Lambert always seemed reluctant to play Darren Bent even if Villa were desperate for goals. He showed that he still is a proven goal scorer when he was sent out on loan to Brighton and, even more so, Derby County this season. At Derby, his 10 goals in 15 appearances helped their unsuccessful play-off push, showing that he is more than capable to rediscover the form that he previously displayed in his career. If the 31-year-old can stay clear of injuries and is provided with the right service, Bent is more than capable of reviving his Premier League career.
Striker – Danny Ings
Many football fans will be eager to see what football shirt Danny Ings will be wearing at the start of next season. The 22-year-old, who has scored 10 goals for relegated Burnley in his debut season in the Premier League, has expressed his desire to play for a manager who will help him fulfil his potential. With Manchester United, Liverpool and Real Sociedad all rumoured to be interested in the Burnley forward, it’s going to be one of the more interesting ones to follow over the summer.
Manager – Sam Allardyce
It looks inevitable that Sam Allardyce will leave West Ham this summer. Big Sam can never win. The West Ham supporters always seem to be complaining about the job that he’s doing. When they’re winning they complain that they’re not winning by playing ‘the West Ham way’. If they’re losing, they want Sam Allardyce out of Upton Park pronto. It will be interesting to see where Allardyce goes and who will replace him if he does not sign a new contract with The Hammers.
This team goes to show that there are other options for clubs to explore this season. Not many of these players will be headline makers but they’re talented, hungry for the opportunity and, most of all, free.
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