With the news that Andy Carroll’s West Ham dream is finally coming to an end, after he was ruled out for the rest of the season, we decided to create a ‘Premier League Free Transfer XI’ who, as it stands, will be available for nothing in the summer transfer window. Spoiler alert: Big Andy didn’t make the squad.
GK – Adrián
The Spaniard made 120 appearances for West Ham after signing from Real Betis in 2013, before the arrival of Lukasz Fabianski from Swansea finally displaced him as club number one. He has only made five appearances since then, all of which were in cup competitions, and will be seeking a new club this summer as a result.
Adrián is 32 and might be a useful option for a promoted side, unless he opts to return to Spain.
Linked with: N/A
LB – Alberto Moreno
Liverpool only have two left-backs in their squad yet Albert Moreno is arguably third in the queue behind James Milner, which sums up his Liverpool decline.
It wasn’t always this way for the Spaniard. After signing from Sevilla in 2014, he made 60 appearances for the Reds in his first two seasons at the club. However, he was widely criticised for his performance throughout Liverpool’s defeat in the 2016 Europa League final.
The curtains finally came down on Moreno’s Liverpool career when Jurgen Klopp recruited Andy Robertson from Hull in 2017. The Scot has become one of the best left-backs in the league and, as Moreno’s contract ticks down, there is no chance that Liverpool will resign him. At just 26 though, the Spanish international will have options elsewhere.
Linked with: Barcelona, Lazio
I can’t believe people are suggesting playing Alberto Moreno at left back because of Robertson’s suspension. Heather Mills would be less of a risk in there.
— Lfc Kev (@Kev1Lfc) 7 April 2019
RB – Matteo Darmian
The Italian was brought to Man United by Louis Van Gaal in 2015 and enjoyed a successful first season in which he made 39 appearances, including 28 in the league. However, Van Gaal was displaced by Jose Mourinho a year later and that’s where things began to unravel for Darmian.
29 appearances in Mourinho’s first season wasn’t a bad return but dropped to 17 the year after and he has been limited to six matches this year, none of which came in the league.
The Italian international is 29 and his next big move will probably be his last, as such he will be keen to ensure that his playing time increases with the European Championships just round the corner.
Linked with: Inter Milan
CB – David Luiz
Ah David Luiz. Star of a thousand internet memes and Sideshow Bob jokes. The Brazilian may be many things but boring isn’t one of them.
Half the time he is a supremely talented centre-back, capable of playing for any team in the world. On his poorer days though he can be a liability, with Gary Neville infamously saying that he played like he was ‘being controlled by a 10-year-old on a Playstation’.
Talks are ongoing with Chelsea over a new deal but, with the London club’s policy of only awarding 12 month contracts to players over 30, he may be forced to look elsewhere.
Linked with: Palmeiras, Qatar
CB – Vincent Kompany
If he wasn’t seemingly made from glass, Vincent Kompany would play a larger part in conversations about who the best Premier League defender of all time is.
In his 11 year career at the club, the Manchester City legend has turned out on 352 occasions for Man City, winning three Premier League titles, four League Cups and the FA Cup. However, he will always be partially remembered for how many games he missed.
During his time at Man City, Kompany has picked up 27 different injuries which kept him out for a combined 880 days in which he missed 150 games for the club.
It is testament to his quality that, not only did the club keep him around for so long, but that he is currently in talks for another year extension.
Linked with: N/A
DM – Ander Herrera
Manchester United are keen to retain the services of Herrera, who has become a fan favourite at the club following a series of passionate, dogged displays in what has been a turbulent period at the club.
The decision might be taken out of their hands though, amid reports that Herrera is in talks to sign a pre-contract agreement with Paris Saint Germain which will leave Manchester United urgently needing to sign a replacement.
Linked with: PSG
Love Ander Herrera. Think he’s been a great servant to the club and I don’t really want him to go, but if his replacement is Tanguy Ndombélé then I’d pack his bags for him & I would drive him to the airport myself. That guy is a baller.
— Ryan. ? (@Vintage_Utd) 6 April 2019
AM – Juan Mata
The Spanish exodus from the Premier League this summer continues. Juan Mata is the fourth Spaniard on this list and the second from Manchester United. Come on guys, the weather isn’t that bad.
Whilst Ander Herrera is perceived as something of a wind up merchant who opposition fans love to hate, Juan Mata seems like the sort of guy you’d hope your daughter would marry. He’s a very talented footballer as well, winning two FA Cups, the Champions League, the League Cup and the Europa League across spells at Chelsea and Manchester United.
With the versatile attacking midfielder still only 30, he will have no shortage of options should he leave this summer and is allegedly in talks with Barcelona over a move.
Linked with: Barcelona
LW – Ryan Babel
The glorious return of Ryan Babel to the Premier League hasn’t quite gone to plan. After his heady days as an undoubtedly talented but frustratingly inconsistent Liverpool player, he re-emerged at Fulham eight years later and little has changed in his performances.
Babel has made ten Premier League appearances since Fulham signed him in the January transfer window, scoring two goals. However, his contributions weren’t enough to prevent The Cottagers’ slide back to the Championship.
The 32-year-old is still a regular in the Netherlands’ national team and will be aiming for another move in the summer to maintain his chances of making their Euro 2020 squad.
Linked with: Galatasaray
RW – Lazar Marković
Look, we were struggling a bit with the wingers. As such we had little option but to include another former-Liverpool-but-now-Fulham flop in Lazar Marković.
Marković was apparently personally recommended by his Serbian international teammate Aleksandar Mitrović and subsequently moved to Fulham in the January transfer window. However, he has so far made just a single appearance for the club, coming on at half time in Fulham’s 3-1 loss to West Ham.
Still only 25, time hasn’t completely passed Marković by but it is danger of doing so as he has only played nine times in the last two seasons.
Linked with: Besiktas
FW – Daniel Sturridge
From former Liverpool players to soon-to-be-former Liverpool players, Daniel Sturridge’s time in the northwest could have been so much more.
As part of what was once dubbed his ‘SAS’ partnership alongside Luis Suarez, Sturridge scored 21 goals in 29 Premier League games during the 2013/14 season, finishing second in the top scorer charts behind the Uruguayan.
However, like Vincent Kompany before him, Sturridge is incredibly injury prone which has derailed his time at the club. He has picked up 15 separate injuries across eight seasons, missing 567 days of action and 99 games.
That isn’t the sort of injury record you needt when competing against the likes of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane for a starting position.
However, Sturridge’s goalscoring record for Liverpool (67 goals in 155 matches) is mightily impressive and this will surely put him in demand in the summer.
Linked with: Tottenham, Real Betis
Have a feeling Real Betis will sign Daniel Sturridge on a free this summer. They’re so toothless in attack and they need a quality center forward who can link play and finish. Sturridge needs a team that suits his style and gives him a starting spot.
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) 5 April 2019
FW – Olivier Giroud
The Frenchmas started the World Cup final against Croatia last summer and is an ever present for Les Bleus, yet is struggling to get in Maurizo Sarri’s Chelsea side ahead of fellow thirty-something Gonzalo Higuain.
This is despite Eden Hazard confessing his love of playing alongside Giroud, labelling him ‘the world’s best target man’.
Talks are underway about Chelsea triggering a one year extension in Giroud’s contract but he will surely have no shortage of options should that not prove to be the case, with a move back to his homeland mooted.
Linked with: Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille
Subs: Michael Vorm (GK), Gary Cahill (CB), James Milner (CM), Samir Nasri (AM), Danny Welbeck (CF)