The sporting-world has come to a halt and given how free betting picks aren’t something we see often, we’ve decided to list what we consider to be five of the best free transfers.
The initiation of the Bosman ruling in 1995 allowed players to sign for other clubs at the end of their contract for free.
Since this, the Premier League has seen some wonderful bargain buys over the years and here are what we believe to be five of the best free transfers.
Brad Friedel – Liverpool to Blackburn
Liverpool have had their problems at the back since the Premier League began, but letting Brad Friedel go on a free transfer to Blackburn Rovers has perhaps been their biggest mistake. Following 25 appearances for the Reds, the American left for Blackburn in 2000 where he donned the Rovers jersey just shy of 300 times, even scoring one goal.
Gary McAllister – Coventry City to Liverpool
It was the summer of 2000 when then Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier was preparing an onslaught of youth to take the Reds to glory. So, the addition of 35-year-old Gary McAllister on a free from Coventry shocked everyone, particularly when considering that Liverpool already had midfield powerhouses Dietmar Hamann and Steven Gerrard.
Yet, it was a signing that well and truly paid off; McAllister helped Liverpool to UEFA, FA and League Cup success in his first season. He played 55 times for the Reds, scoring five goals as he returned to Coventry in 2002.
Sol Campbell – Tottenham to Arsenal
Having come through the youth system at Tottenham and captained the club in a nine-year spell, his move to Arsenal on a free transfer at the end of 2002 caused uproar amongst Spurs fans.
Yet, it was a move that can only be described as a success – for both Arsenal and Campbell. During five years with the Gunners, Campbell added two Premier League titles and two FA Cups to his trophy cabinet and played a key role in the famous ‘invincible’ season of 2003-04.
Michael Ballack – Bayern Munich to Chelsea
Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea had already secured consecutive Premier League titles so the capture of German captain and four-times Bundesliga winner Michael Ballack on a free sent a clear message out to the rest of the division.
Though failing to exhibit the same kind of form he produced in Germany, Ballack still won four major honours in a four-year spell at Stamford Bridge, including a domestic double in 2010.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – PSG to Manchester United
Having conquered most of Europe with spells at Ajax, Juventus, Barcelona, PSG and both Milan clubs, Zlatan Ibrahimovic left for England in 2016, joining Manchester United after his contract expired at Paris St-Germain.
The Swedish giant soon silenced his critics that claimed he would not cope with English football’s physicality, netting the winner in the Community Shield and becoming the oldest player to score 15 goals in a Premier League season.
Ibrahimovic netted twice – including the winner – as United triumphed in the League Cup before a serious knee injury sidelined him for a long period of time in 2017. The Swede left in 2018 to join LA Galaxy in the MLS, having scored 28 goals in 46 games and having won three trophies in his time in Manchester.