A rule which changed football forever, the Bosman ruling in 1995 gave players greater power than ever in choosing their footballing futures.
Each season, several players become available for nothing, either having been released or choosing to depart at their contract’s expiry. These players can represent bargains for potential suitors, a chance to secure a freebie in the ever-growing world of mega-money transfers.
Whilst a host of this summer’s free agents have been readily snapped up, there are still some stellar names seeking their next club.
Here are five players who are still available on free transfers this summer…
An England international forward, under the age of 30 and who has scored 50 goals in 116 league appearances for one of the Premier League’s leading sides, it is hard to believe that Daniel Sturridge remains without a club.
Injury problems are of course a major concern, the 29-year-old having made 20 league appearances just once in the past five seasons. That said, he remains unquestionably talented and could represent a bargain for any side looking to add to their forward options this summer.
A fit and firing Sturridge is amongst the finest finishers in the Premier League, and on a free transfer is surely worth the gamble that he can stay injury-free.
A two-time Champions League winner, he possesses undeniable pedigree and could become the bargain of the 2019 free agency pool.
An England international forward, under the age of 30, injury-plagued? We’ve been here before. Like Sturridge, former Arsenal striker Welbeck is seeking a new club following his release at the Emirates.
Welbeck’s five years at Arsenal saw him suffer several injury problems, however, he remains a talent once fully fit. A record of 16 goals in 42 caps for England highlights his ability, and he could represent a smart acquisition for any side looking to add to their attacking ranks.
Powerful and pacey, the Manchester United academy graduate can provide a solid focal point and has been linked with a host of top-flight clubs. He remains available on a free transfer, though for how much longer remains to be seen.
The third player to have represented the Three Lions on our list, veteran defender Cahill is weighing up his options after bringing an end to a successful six-and-a-half-year spell at Chelsea.
The 33-year-old is a proven winner, having won every major honour during a glittering career at Stamford Bridge and would add quality and experience to the defence of any potential suitors.
Former club Aston Villa have been linked, and Cahill could prove a sensible signing as the Midlands club seek top-level experience following their promotion.
Cahill was frozen out under Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea last season, making just two league appearances, however, he remains capable at Premier League level.
The Algerian playmaker is attracting interest from across Europe after deciding to leave Porto this summer, the 29-year-old having scored 53 goals in 213 appearances for the Portuguese side.
A regular in the Champions League, Brahimi has proven himself on the biggest stage and would represent a high-quality, low-cost signing.
Currently with the Algeria squad at this summer’s African Cup of Nations, Brahimi’s future is likely to be decided following the tournament’s conclusion.
West Ham were strongly linked with a move for the winger last season, whilst Arsenal are reported to be tracking Brahimi this summer. Unai Emery’s budget is reported to be restricted at the Emirates, and the availability of a player of Brahimi’s calibre on a free transfer is likely to appeal.
Mad Mario is looking for his next venture, having decided to leave French side Marseille despite enjoying a successful spell in Ligue 1.
Balotelli’s storied career has taken in spells at both Milan clubs, Manchester City and Liverpool, with varying degrees of success.
Brilliantly bonkers, attitude rather than talent has stopped the 28-year-old from realising his potential, though he remains some player on his day.
His spells in France at Nice and Marseille saw him score 41 goals in just 73 league appearances, a prolific rate for any forward and on a free transfer he could appeal to a host of sides.
West Ham have been tentatively linked as they seek additional attacking options, could Balotelli follow in the footsteps of Paulo Di Canio as an Italian icon in the East end?