The seven best free agents still available this January - including ex-Man Utd, West Ham, and Liverpool stars
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Everybody loves a bargain, and the ultimate bargain is, obviously, a freebie. With the January transfer window now open, and the rumour mill slowly beginning to crank its way towards full speed, clubs from across the Premier League and beyond are attempting to puzzle out the best of strengthening their squads for as cheaply as possible.
And while most of the attention will, naturally, be on big money switches and carefully plotted loan agreements, there is also an untapped underbelly to the market that could be worth some consideration too. We're talking, of course, about free agents.
Despite being halfway through the domestic campaign, there are still a number of high profile unemployed talents available, with several more than capable of doing a job at the top level. With that in mind, we've gathered up seven of the best and brightest below...
David de Gea
Who would ever have imagined that several months after quietly being ushered out of the exit door by Manchester United, David de Gea would still be a free agent? The Spaniard has become a de facto speculated target for any club in need of emergency reinforcement between the sticks, but as things stand he is very much without a club.
Another ex-United player who is currently unemployed, Jesse Lingard just can't seem to find an opening at the present moment in time. The midfielder was initially linked with a number of Premier League sides to no avail, and has since been touted for a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia, although it would appear that his wage demands have priced him out of a Middle Eastern sojourn somewhat. By no means is Lingard a spent force, but right now it is wholly unclear as to where he will end up.
A blast from the (recent) past for Leeds United and Wolves fans alike, Helder Costa has been a free agent since leaving Elland Road in October of last year. In truth, the writing was on the wall for a while before his departure, with loans to Valencia and Al-Ittihad suggesting that he was surplus to requirements in Yorkshire, but having just turned 30 this week, surely he still has more to offer.
More abandoned Costas than a derelict high street. This time, it's Douglas, Brazilian winger formerly of Juventus, who is on the lookout for a new club. The wide man was most recently under the employ of MLS franchise LA Galaxy, but is currently without a club. At 33, he might be a little past his prime, but could he still do a job for a team in Europe? I dunno, probably.
Mamadou Sakho's career has been an absolute rollercoaster. From captaining Paris Saint-Germain at the age of 17 to his stint with Liverpool, the French defender has always been a man for the big occasions. There have been no footballing occasions of any size since he left Montpellier in November, however. Now 33, you would assume that he still has another run left in him, but as yet, it is not obvious when or where that might happen.
Yann M'Vila got hearts fluttering all over Wearside when he gave a cheeky interview late last year suggesting that he would happily take a pay cut to rejoin Championship outfit Sunderland in the coming weeks. Out of work since he left Greek giants Olympiacos over the summer, the combative midfielder evidently still has a hunger for competitive action, and whether it is at the Stadium of Light or elsewhere, he could represent an absolute steal for whoever is fortunate enough to coax him out of inactivity.
Anwar El Ghazi
And finally, Anwar El Ghazi has been a free agent since his contract was terminated by Bundesliga outfit Mainz under controversial circumstances in October. In response to the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict, the former Aston Villa winger took to social media to share a pro-Palestinian message which contained the statement, 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free'. El Ghazi later added, 'Every individual, be it in Palestine or elsewhere, has the right to security, a loving home, and opportunities to grow.'
Mainz subsequently put out a press release, supposedly from the player, in which they stated that El Ghazi stood 'for peace above everything' and calling for 'more empathy' as 'deepening our knowledge about the history of this conflict is vital'. However, the 28-year-old then claimed that the statement had been published without his authorisation, explaining, 'I do not distance myself from what I said and stand for humanity and on the side of the oppressed until the last day I breathe.' Mainz consequently ripped up his contract, and now the Dutchman is on the lookout for a new club.