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Top 5 performing free transfers of the football season so far

Elvis Ume O
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Timeless

Wayne Rooney has enjoyed his spell in the MLS so far
Wayne Rooney has enjoyed his spell in the MLS so far

Summers are usually a very busy time for European clubs, as the transfer window offers football teams the chance to reshuffle their squads, bolstering areas of perceived weakness and augmenting sectors where they have adequate strength.

There is an ever increasing amount of money accessible to football clubs more than at any other point in history, as increased marketability of the biggest players as well as a more global interest in the game means there is more funding available from improved TV deals as well as ticket prices and merchandise sales.

This increase in funding has had a concordant effect on everything concerning the game, as there is now a reactive increase in inflation, as players values soar high through the roof. Therefore clubs spend exuberant amounts of money to land the highest quality talent.

However, for all the marquee names usually added to a squad during a transfer window, sometimes there is more value from players who were gotten at a bargain, either for ridiculously low transfer fees, on loan, or even on a free transfer.

History is littered with examples of players who went on to cement their legacy in club folklore despite arriving on a Bosman, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Raul Gonzalez’s spells with Manchester United and Schalke 04 respectively serving as more recent examples of this.

This season is proving to be no exception, as there are a number of players across Europe who are performing creditably well at their new clubs, having arrived on a free, and this piece focuses on five such players who are performing incredibly.

Honorable mentions – Ximo Navarra (Las Palmas – Alavez), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal – Villareal), Wayne Rooney (Everton – DC United), Pau Lopez (Espanyol – Real Betis), Bernard (Shaktar Donetsk – Everton).


#5 Sergio Canales (Real Sociedad – Real Betis)

Sergio Canales in action for Real Betis
Sergio Canales in action for Real Betis

Sergio Canales broke through in the Racing Santander team in 2010, helping his hometown club escape relegation with his performances. This led Real Madrid to sanction his purchase in the summer of 2010, but he found playing time hard to come by, and was loaned to Valencia just a season later.

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His spell at Valencia however was plagued by injuries, and he was shipped on to Real Sociedad in December 2013.

At the Anoeta, he still suffered relapses of his injuries, but was consistent enough to make 134 appearances, scoring 10 goals in LaLiga across 5 seasons for the Basque outfit, but the club opted against renewing his contract upon its expiration at the end of the just concluded season.

Real Betis manager, Quique Setien, took up the option of signing the midfielder on a free, and it has proved to be a masterstroke, as Canales has blended in seamlessly with the squad, orchestrating play from the middle, as Betis have won admirers all over LaLiga for their impressive style of play.

He has starred in LaLiga, scoring 3 goals from 13 matches, and has also helped Betis’ charge in the Europa League, appearing in 3 of their 4 matches thus far.

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