Free agent XI for the 2016-17 season

Mark Schwarzer
Schwarzer has a Premier League winners medal at Leicester

This was the year of big money signings. Juventus started proceedings with the signing of Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli for €90m and Manchester United, not to be outdone, followed this up with a world record move for Paul Pogba. With the transfer window firmly shut though, the only option clubs have left is free agency.

All football clubs love bargain buys and one thing better than paying a small fee is obviously paying nothing at all. Most free agents tend to be on the higher side in terms of age but they still possess loads of class and talent.

On that note, take a look at the free agency starting XI of 2016.


Goalkeeper

Mark Schwarzer

Schwarzer at 43 still has the legs to play at the highest level. Although he made just 10 appearances in the last 4 seasons, he did manage to bag a Premier League winners medal. The Australian was released by Leicester City in July and if picked up by another Premier League team, he would be set to break the record of being the oldest player to play a Premier League game.

Defence

Right-back: Martin Caceres

Martin caceres
Caceres had a decent showing at Juventus but was released after a series of injuries hampered his career

Martin Caceres was released by Juventus last season and is yet to find a club. At Juventus, Caceres won 5 consecutive league titles and a Champions League during his time at Barcelona. The 29-year-old also brings with him a wealth of international experience having made 63 appearances for Uruguay.

A versatile defender who can operate in the centre as well as the right, he is known for his pace and hard tackling ability and is not expected to be out of contract for long. The Uruguayan full-back has been linked with moves to AC Milan, Inter and Roma but prefers a move abroad.


Centre back: Alex

Alex
At 34, Alex is way past his best but is sill a useful asset to have

Alex, nicknamed “The Tank” for his lethal right foot is an experienced warhorse who has seen it all. At 34 years of age, the Brazilian has plied his trade all over the world and has had stints at Chelsea, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.

The centre-back has made over 400 appearances at the club level and 15 for the Brazilian national team and still has a couple of good years in him.

Alex initially began his career at Santos before moving to Chelsea where he was renowned for his long-range free kicks. The Brazilian amassed 4 trophies in his time at Chelsea including 2 FA Cups, a Premier League and an FA Community Shield.

He then moved to PSG and was just as successful adding another 4 trophies to his kitty. He struggled during his time in Italy though, was often second choice at Milan and was subsequently released earlier this year.

At 34, Alex’s best years are behind him but he could still be expected to add a solid presence and put in a shift whenever required.


Centre-back: Philippe Mexes

Philippe Mexes
Mexes was released at the end of last season by Milan

Philippe Mexes was touted to be a defensive great after his emergence from the Auxerre academy but it never quite happened for the 34-year-old. Mexes had a few decent seasons in France before making the switch to Roma where he forged a solid partnership with Christian Chivu.

Since 2010 however his career has been in decline mainly due to a spate of injuries. A switch to Milan ensued but again a nasty series of injuries left him on the treatment table for a major part of his career.

He is still quite an accomplished defender though having made 133,183 and 84 appearances for Auxerre, Roma and Milan respectively as well as earning 29 caps for the French national team.

The highlight of the French defender’s career would have to be his magnificently struck volley against rivals Inter last season which earned him a nomination for the Puskas Award.


Left-back: Jose Enrique

Jose Enrique
Jose Enrique has been released after five seasons at Liverpool

Jose Enrique at the age of 30 may have lost some of the blistering pace that made him so famous at Newcastle and Liverpool but he is still a healthy asset to have in the squad. The Spaniard joined Liverpool in 2011 and made 76 appearances for the Reds in five seasons before being released this summer.

The Spaniard has tons of experience at the highest level and will be a boost in the dressing room wherever he ends up. Enrique was earlier linked with a move to Hull City but after the deal did not materialise, he will have to look at other options.

Midfield

Holding midfielder: Mathieu Flamini

Mathieu Flamini
Flamini was used as a backup at Arsenal last season but still has a lot to offer

Mathieu Flamini is another big name on this list. Flamini was released from Arsenal 3 years into his second stint at the club. The Frenchman was mainly a backup option for the Gunners last season and made 24 appearances.

The 32-year-old joined Arsenal from Marseille way back in 2004 and formed a healthy partnership with Cesc Fabregas in the heart of the Arsenal midfield in the latter part of his career. He then left the Gunners for Milan but made a return to England in 2013.

With the emergence of Coquelin though and the signings of Granit Xhaka, Flamini has been considered surplus to requirements and was released by the club. The hard tackling midfielder still has quite a lot to offer though and has been garnering interest from a number of Serie- A clubs.


Centre mid: Sulley Muntari

Sulley Muntari
Muntari has been linked with a move to Italy

Muntari has been on the lookout for a new club after his term at Saudi Arabian club Ittihad came to an end in 2016. Muntari, 32 took the world by storm in his early days at Udinese, Portsmouth and Inter but has been on the decline ever since.

The left-footed midfielder is a highly versatile and adaptable player known for his physical presence and combative playing style. He also possesses fairly decent technical ability and is a solid passer of the ball.

The Ghanaian is currently in talks with Italian outfit Cagliari over a possible move and a deal may be completed by next week. Muntari was also linked with a move to Everton but prefers a move to Italy where he has a huge reputation after successful spells at Udinese,Inter and Milan.


Centre Mid: Raul Meireles

Raul Meireles
Raul Meireles(R) is still a force to be reckoned with in the centre of midfield

Raul Meireles was released by Turkish giants Fenerbahce earlier this season and has been a free agent since. Meireles though is far from finished. At 33, the Portuguese still has some tricks up his sleeve and will be a fine addition to any squad.

A solid presence in the centre of midfield, Meireles was an integral part of Fenerbahce’s squad that won the Turkish league in 2014.

Meireles has had short stints at Liverpool and Chelsea apart from a major one at Porto where he gained his reputation. With over 70 appearances for Portugal, Meireles brings with him a wealth of experience at the highest level and would be especially suited to one of the smaller Premiership clubs.


Attacking mid: Lucho Gonzalez

Lucho Gonzalez
Lucho’s passing ability and vision would be an asset to any club

Lucho Gonzalez really made a name for himself at Porto where he made over 180 appearances in 2 stints and bagged 6 Primera Liga titles. The 35-year old has the ability to play in a number of different positions in the midfield but has been mainly utilised in the centre. He is especially known for his ferocious long-range shots and insightful passing.

The Argentine international has been somewhat of a roamer having represented 7 clubs in total. His most recent stint with River Plate saw him make just 7 appearances in 2 years and his contract was terminated this summer.

Attack:

Striker: Miroslav Klose

Miroslav Klose
Klose has been a consistent goal scorer at all levels of football

Klose might be 38 but he continues to score goals for fun. Probably Germany’s biggest miss at the Euros this summer, he has notched up 71 goals for his country, something which they have been unable to replace ever since his retirement.

The ideal poacher, Klose is great in the air and is a strong and powerful centre-forward. His finishing is second to none and he has been a highly reliable scorer for all his clubs. After a successful stint in the Bundesliga with Bayern where he won 2 Bundesliga titles and 2 Pokals, he moved to Lazio where he bagged the Coppa Italia in 2013.

The highest ever scorer in World Cup history, Klose was released by Lazio in May after a successful stint in Italy. Despite his age, he aims to continue playing football at the highest level and has been linked with a move to the MLS. He is still currently on the market and would be a steal for whichever club finally secures his services.


Striker: Nicklas Bendtner

Nicklas Bendtner
Nicklas Bendtner needs to find some of his international form to kick start his career

Nickas Bendtner is far better on social media than on the football field but he still makes it on the list due to his age. At 28, the Dane still has a number of years at the top level if he gets his head in the game.

Bendtner has a decent international record for Denmark with 29 goals in 72 games but his performances at club level have been far from flattering. The former Arsenal man has had loan stints at Birmingham, Sunderland and even Juventus but has flattered to deceive.

After a permanent move to Wolfsburg, his career was supposed to take a turn for the better, but with just 3 goals in 3 years he has been released by the German club. Looking at his past performances, Bendtner can only improve and it could be a risk worth taking for any club on the lookout for a cheap striker.


Formation: 4-1-2-1-2

Formation
A look at the free agency XI lined up in a 4-1-2-1-2 formation

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Edited by Staff Editor
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