Best free agents who can still move after the transfer window has closed

Now the transfer window has slammed shut in Europe, we can take a deep breath after what has been a truly bonkers summer of spending.

Premier League clubs spent a record £2.36bn in the summer market – 48% of the total amount spent across Europe’s top five leagues. It’s all got a bit silly, hasn’t it?

While the spending may be over, there could yet be movement in the market. Despite the window having closed, there are still plenty of players available as free agents who could be on their way to a new club sooner rather than later.

Let’s take a look at the best free agents who are yet to make a move.

David de Gea

De Gea was let go by Man Utd after they signed Andre Onana / Visionhaus/GettyImages

It feels a long time ago that David de Gea’s future was still uncertain at Manchester United. The goalkeeper was negotiating with the Red Devils for some time over a new deal, but in the end the club decided to let their number one leave following the expiration of his contract.

The 32-year-old said his goodbyes after a 12-year stint at Old Trafford and few would have thought he would still be without a club come September.

While probably not capable of playing in an Erik ten Hag Manchester United team any longer, the Spaniard continually played at a relatively high-standard, often exhibiting the cat-like reflexes and game-winning saves for which he had become renowned.

There were short-lived links with Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Chelsea, but nothing materialised. It’s surprising De Gea is yet to find a new home, but perhaps his significant wage demands have obstructed potential moves to ‘smaller’ clubs.

Still, there are many teams who could do a hell of a lot worse than having De Gea between the sticks.

Jesse Lingard

Lingard failed to impress at Nottingham Forest / Clive Mason/GettyImages

Another former Manchester United player, Lingard still finds himself a free agent after he was released by Nottingham Forest last season.

The attacking midfielder had struggled for some time at Old Trafford before a brief revival on loan at West Ham United had convinced Forest to make their move when he became available for free in 2022.

However, the England international failed to live up to expectations at the City Ground, managing just two goals and two assists in 20 matches for the Midlands side – all while earning a reported £200,000-a-week.

It’s perhaps unsurprising given his lacklustre performances, advancing age and high wages that Lingard is yet to find a new club. The 30-year-old’s best days are long gone.

Eden Hazard

Hazard is considering retirement / Visionhaus/GettyImages

It’s difficult to know just how much Eden Hazard cost Real Madrid. It was certainly a minimum of £89m, but a potential £60m in add-ons – many of which likely haven’t been met – means that a final figure is uncertain.

Either way, it’s a pretty big loss for Los Blancos.

Hazard left Chelsea in 2019 and endured a pretty miserable four years at the Bernabeu. He made just 76 appearances, provided a combined 19 goals and assists and continually struggled with injuries and poor form.

It’s hard to believe that a player that was once so valuable is now considered largely unemployable by any top teams. The Belgian winger, once so skilful and ruthless, is now a shadow of his former self.

Reports have suggested Hazard is considering retirement at just 32 years old despite interest from Inter Miami and various other clubs. If he does decide to bow out, it will be an ill-fitting end to a wonderful career.

Alejandro Dario Gomez

Gomez and Sevilla agreed to terminate the player’s contract / Leopoldo Smith/GettyImages

Papu Gomez was a joy to watch at Atalanta. The diminutive attacker was blessed with quick feet and wonderful technical ability, dazzling spectators weekly in Bergamo.

The Argentine struggled to replicate his blistering form at Sevilla following his move in 2021, but was still a semi-regular for the Spanish side. However, last season Gomez played just 19 La Liga matches, prompting Sevilla and the 35-year-old to mutually agree to terminate his contract this summer.

At such an age, it’s unclear if Gomez will consider retirement or make one final move. There is, of course, the possibility he returns to Argentina to finish his career where it all began, but it looks unlikely there will be too many big suitors in Europe.

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