Premier League free agent XI includes Man Utd flop with Ballon d’Or clause in Red Devils contract

Jason Soutar
Our Premier League free agent XI features Anthony Martial, Thiago and Raphael Varane
Our Premier League free agent XI features Anthony Martial, Thiago and Raphael Varane

Including two Jurgen Klopp favourites at Liverpool, here is a team of players who have officially become a free agent following the expiry of their contract at a Premier League club.

And here are the 20 best players in the world out of contract as of July 1.


GK: Marek Rodak
Wayne Hennessey or Marek Rodak? What a decision to have to make. The latter gets the nod as he is a whole decade younger than the Welshman.

We think Rodak can do a job in the Championship having proven himself in the second tier with Fulham, who harshly but rightly replaced him with Bernd Leno following their promotion in 2022.


RB: Japhet Tanganga
Ex-Tottenham full-back Tanganga won’t be a free agent much longer with Millwall hoping to sign him permanently after his loan spell in the second half of 2023/24 and Italian outfit Parma also keen.

He beats off mighty competition from Cedric Soares and Ryan Fredericks.


CB: Joel Matip
Matip is a player who gets into Jurgen Klopp’s greatest Liverpool XI, which incidentally only started together one time: the Champions League final victory over Tottenham in June 2019.

The Cameroonian centre-back is a big fan favourite at Anfield and might have been offered a one-year extension had he not suffered an ACL injury back in December. When fit, he will be a good signing for a team presumably in the top half of the Bundesliga, although he does stink of a move to one of Turkey’s big boys.

Read more: Liverpool are the Goldilocks club – Jurgen Klopp has brought exactly the right amount of success


CB: Raphael Varane
Formerly one of the best centre-backs in world football, Varane’s reputation has taken a hit since leaving Real Madrid for Manchester United. That doesn’t take away from the fact he is a four-time Champions League winner, mind.

A return to RC Lens would be swell.


LB: Ryan Sessegnon
Sessegnon, like former Spurs pal Tanganga, shouldn’t be a free agent much longer, with Crystal Palace expected to sign him on a free.

He was supposed to be one of the most promising players in the country when he Broke Onto The Scene at Fulham but it has just not happened for him. At 24, there is time for Sessegnon to reach his potential; he just needs to get his next move right.

DM: Thiago
As much as we would have liked to include the smiley Mohamed Elneny, he is not on the same level as injury-prone Thiago, who Liverpool fans just know will go on to play 90% of his new club’s matches in 2024/25.

The Spanish playmaker is bloody brilliant on his day but we have not seen him ‘on his day’ for yonks.


CM: Andre Gomes
Like Sessegnon, Gomes was a player billed to become the next big thing but the Portuguese joined Barcelona and flopped massively, which naturally leads you to Goodison Park.

Now 30 years of age, Gomes is another player who is destined for the Turkish Super Lig.


CM: Tanguy Ndombele
Blimey, where do we begin? What a player Ndombele was for Lyon. Tottenham were right to pay a club-record fee for him after seeing him run the show against Manchester City in the Champions League.

The Frenchman showed some promise in his first season at the club but it was a shaky campaign overall. Given the benefit of the doubt having moved to a new country at a new age, Ndombele then became the unreliable, unfit disappointment that will be remembered by the Premier League.

Here’s hoping he can get his career back on track having had his Spurs contract terminated.


AM: Dele Alli
Another ex-Spurs star, Dele is a free agent having left Everton, who ended up paying their Premier League rivals diddly-squat as the player was unable to trigger any of his performance-based clauses.

Dele is working hard to get back to full fitness and is eyeing the World Cup with England in two years. Ambitious, we know, but we love it. Good luck to you, fella.


ST: Kelechi Iheanacho
Leicester paid over £20million for Iheanacho back in 2017 and in 232 appearances for the Foxes, he scored 61 and assisted 34. The Nigerian probably isn’t good enough for the Premier League but we can’t see him settling for another year in the Championship. If only there was a special division in the middle for him, Dwight Gayle and Anthony Knockaert.


ST: Anthony Martial
Expectations of Gomes and Sessegnon were minuscule in comparison to 2015 Golden Boy Anthony Martial, who leaves Manchester United having cost them a world-record fee for a teenager, signing a contract that comically included a Ballon d’Or clause.

United fans I know like Martial a lot, which is a bit odd from the outside looking in, but each to their own. He showed brilliance at times but nowhere near enough. Is he the ultimate Turkish Super Lig player or will he get a paycheck in Saudi Arabia, or even return to France? This is the only saga we care about.

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