Today we’re constructing a team of the best players still available on a free this summer let’s go
Michel Vorm – Goalkeeper
Michel Vorm we initially opted for Joe Hart here but with the former man city keeper having just put pen to paper at Tottenham we’ve gone for the man he is effectively replacing Michel Vorm may have made just 48 appearances for Spurs across six seasons but was an excellent backup to Hugo Lloris before Paulo Gazzaniga took his place at number two in 2018.
the dutch stopper enjoyed a fantastic three years at Swansea before his move to north London in 2014 and while he turns 37 this autumn is still in good fitness and would surely benefit from playing more regularly at a smaller club especially when you consider he’s been training against one of the world’s elite finishers and Harry Kane for over half a decade form is apparently keen to move to a club in Belgium or the Netherlands and it would signal his first return to mainland Europe since leaving Utrecht for the Premier League all the way back in 2011. although a romantic reunion with his former club looks unlikely.
Nathaniel Clyne – Defender
Nathaniel Clyne has played no football over the last year but rather than bench warming was on the sidelines with an ACL injury in 2019-20 marking the second time in three seasons he had set out for over nine months with Trent Alexander-Arnold now one of the world’s very best right-backs the reds are in need of reliable cover and it’s fair to say Clyne fitness has been less than reliable it’s a shame for a player who was one of Jurgen Klopp’s most trusted first team members in his first two seasons in charge
Practically ever-present as they made it to the Europa League final in 2016 and found their way back into the top four a year later even his short loans spelt at Bournemouth in 2018-19 was a relative success, as he helped the cherries record victories over Chelsea and Spurs in the league he may no longer have the fitness or dynamism needed to succeed as a fallback at a top club but his defensive output is still decent completing around four tackles and interceptions a game in 2018-19 however it’s hard to see him entering any top flight club as a starter next season a backup role surely awaits the former Southampton man.
Malang Sarr – Defender
Malang Sarr, one man who certainly isn’t past his best is Malang Sarr the young defender finally broke ties with hometown club Nice this summer having originally joined their ranks aged just six, and while he is still only 21 he’s already racked up nearly 120 senior appearances across four seasons boasting the kind of experience that is rare for a centre-back of his age his defensive numbers dropped in 2019-20, winning just 47 of his aerial jewels compared with 65 the season before and also winning only 60 of his tackles down from nearly 70 in 2018-19 but he still has plenty of time to develop his game and is a fine player in build-up completing 83 of his long balls making nearly five progressive passes a match and carrying the ball further than anyone else in the knee squad bar Dante.
a fast and intelligent defender Sarr is also versatile meaning he can play both at left-back and also cover the space effectively if whoever is playing at left-back pushes forward a keen presser too it’s no surprise he’s being linked with a number of sides across Europe including Arsenal we can’t see him being a free agent much longer.
Thiago Silva – Defender
On the other hand of the age spectrum from Sarr, Thiago Silva turns 36 in September and following the conclusion of the Champions League is leaving PSG after eight happy seasons at the Parc des Prince an undoubted legend in the French capital the Brazilian center-back has helped the club pick up 18 pieces of major silverware the vast majority of them being won with him as captain
and despite his age, he has remained a consistently brilliant performer clocking up more minutes than both Kylian Mbappé and Marco Verratti this season, while he’s also posting his biggest defensive numbers in years winning possession over three times a game recording a huge 89 tackle success rate, like Verratti he’s also made every league intimate of the season since his arrival in France in 2012. it’s no surprise that the veteran has been linked with countless clubs this summer and the fact he wants to stay in Europe suggests he is prioritizing his football over his pay packet with any luck we’ll be able to watch his commanding displays in Serie A or the Premier League next season.
Giacomo Bonaventura – Midfield
after injuries kept him out of nearly the entire 2018-19 campaign Giacomo Bonaventura played a less central role than he was used to at AC Milan this season, clocking up less than 1 400 minutes and fewer than Suso who left in January and Ibrahimovic arrived the same month.
however the Italian midfielder went out with a bang providing five assists in his final nine games for the club, the majority of which came off the bench helping the Rossoneri stay unbeaten after the restart with his short-term contract extension expiring at the end of the summer the 30-year-old wants a new challenge after six seasons at the San Siro and while his injury record could be a concern for any potential suitors he remains a class act on his day averaging three shots and 1.8 key passes per 90 in 19-20.
During a difficult era for Milan Bonaventura has been one of the club’s most consistent performers and his experience and technical prowess would be an asset for a number of sides moves to Roma, Hellas Verona Fiorentina and even former club Atalanta have all been rumored in the press with a return to Bergamo sounding particularly exciting.
Kevin Stöger – Midfield
Fortuna Dusseldorf missed out on the chance to stay in the Bundesliga in 2019-20 finishing a single point behind 17th place Werder Bremen had Kevin Stöger been available for the entire season it could have been very different the Austrian midfielder missed half of the campaign through injury but still finished as the club’s joint-top assist maker with four from the center of the park leading the squad for chances created per 90 with 1.8 impressive in a side that scored fewer goals than anyone else in the bully,
he’s also a decent distributor completing five long balls a match the same as Jordan Henderson as well as 7.6 progressive passes which is actually better than the Liverpool captain add to that 1.7 dribbles with an 88 success rate and you have a very good all-round center mid who can drive even a poor team up the pitch effectively, but somehow he still hasn’t been snapped up since his contract expired in July both Schalke and Frankfurt have been linked with his signature.
while the 26-year-old has also been touted as an option for Everton whose midfielders struggled to create all season, in fact Lucas Digne was the only toffee to provide more assists than him in 19-20 and he played nearly three times the minutes. if the right club comes along Stöger could prove one of the best bargains of the summer.
Mario Götze – Midfield
Perhaps the quintessential failed wunderkind of the 2010s Mario Götze chronic injury and health issues have plagued his game for the last five years and he’s racked up over 1 000 league minutes in just two seasons since 2014-15,
he may have missed a hefty chunk of his peak years but at 28 there is still scope for him finding success at another club following his release from Borussia Dortmund he made just five league starts in 2019-20 but scored three goals in just over 500 minutes and the season before scored seven and assisted seven in 26 appearances, contributing to a goal every 120 minutes a better rate than former teammate Aubameyang managed for arsenal this term his next move may see him leave Germany for the first time in his career however he has already rejected the chance to join David Beckham’s into Miami franchise in the MLS,
suggesting he is keen to stay in Europe and he’s also been linked with West Ham, Monaco, and Fiorentina. a fresh start in a new league may be exactly what he needs.
Mario Mandžukić – Forward
having terminated his contract with Qatari side Al-Duhail after just six months Mario Mandžukić is a free agent and at 34 he’ll be lucky to find himself back at the top club before he retires?
but despite his age the Croatian veteran is far from unproductive notching up nine goals and six assists for Juventus in 2018-19 and is a hard worker too averaging over two tackles and interceptions in his final season in Turin able to play at centre forward or on the left Mandžukić versatility coupled with a track record of getting the best out of his teammates also makes him an attractive option
like we said the former Bayern man’s days of starting regularly for an elite side are likely over but with a number of clubs in need of backup strikers and utility attackers as the new season gets underway in a flash he won’t be bereft of suitors with Tottenham, Inter Milan and Galatasaray all linked.
Daniel Sturridge – Forward
Daniel Sturridge has had a pretty awful 2020 so far having finally left Liverpool for good last summer he watched his former teammates romp to a historic league title and in March, he was imposed with a four-month worldwide playing ban as punishment for breaching betting rules back in 2018 which saw him terminate his three-year contract with Turkish club Trabzonspor after just six months.
it was a real shame as the English striker had hit four goals and made four assists in 11 super league games working out to a goal involvement every 65 minutes while agent injuries mean he is no longer the universally feared attacker he once was Sturridge’s technical game is still very good and had he stayed in Trabzon during his ban could have returned to help them to a first league title since 1984 with the club finishing four points off Champions İstanbul Başakşehir,
the last time he scored more than five league goals in a season was all the way back in 2015-16 but Sturridge is keen to return to the Premier League and as shown in Turkey he is still capable of producing when fit with the financial implications of the global pandemic making it difficult for clubs to land their top targets the 30 year old represents a cheap alternative.
Ryan Fraser – Forward
he may have made our worst team of the season last month but Ryan Fraser is certainly capable of recapturing the form that made him a target for Arsenal only a year ago, the Scottish winger left Bournemouth under a cloud this summer refusing a short-term extension and departing before a run-in which ultimately saw the cherries relegated to the Championship but at 26 and with four seasons of Premier League experience he still has a lot to give.
it’s no surprise that a number of clubs are interested in him with promoted outfits Leeds West Bromwich and Fulham the latest to be linked with his signature, and if he can get even near his 2018-19 level when he hit seven goals and 14 assists in 38 games whoever takes him on will have got themselves a very good deal his massive drop off in form in 2019-20 when he mustered just four assists in over 2000 minutes suggests he really isn’t cut out for a move to the top six as some had previously suspected,
but there’s nothing to suggest he can’t help one of the weaker sides stay in the top flight next term.