January Transfer Window: Five Freebies

Pedro Obiang (Top) of Sampdoria is challenged by Nemanja Vidic of Internazionale Milano in action during the Serie A match between UC Sampdoria and FC Internazionale Milano at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on March 22, 2015 in Genoa, Italy.

Now that Emmanuel Adebayor has signed his short-term deal with Crystal Palace, there’s one fewer big name, out of contract free transfer available to be snapped up by the would-be wheeler dealers of the Premier League. 

With the January transfer window deadline very much on the horizon, here’s our run through of the possible, unlikely but potentially very entertaining free transfers available. Will your club make the first move?

 

Nemanja Vidic

Likelihood of Premier League Transfer: 3/5

A boyhood fan of Italian football, a move to Internazionale seemed like the ideal destination for Nemanja Vidic following a hugely successful eight years at Manchester United.

For a player who was twice crowned Premier League Player of the Season, it was supposed to be the perfect fit; a place where he could maintain his decorated career at the highest level, but in the nuanced, tactical and less physically demanding surroundings of Serie A.

It soon became a disaster. In 18 months, Vidic could never sustain an acceptable level of fitness. Despite the best efforts of Walter Mazarri and later Roberto Mancini to fit him into the side, it just wasn’t to be. His contract was terminated by mutual agreement earlier this month.

He’s still got something to offer, even if he’s not the dominant and intense competitor that he once was. A wise old head and a potential stop-gap solution could be just what’s needed for the final league run-in, at either end of the table. Aston Villa have been rumoured, but drafting in another defender – a 34 year old – on presumably high wages, doesn’t seem like the course of action their tight fisted owner would take.

 

Ronaldinho

Likelihood of Premier League Transfer: 1/5

One for the romantics. Few players have ever entertained the football world like Ronaldinho did during his brief but phenomenal peak.

A move to a wet British city in the middle of winter doesn’t sound like the likely next career move for a man used to the warmer climates of the world. That said, Blackburn and their memorable owners – Venky’s – did try and tempt him to Lancashire back in 2011.

The Brazilian entertainer played with Fluminense in his native country, as well as Querataro of Mexico in 2015, but he looked a shadow of his former self, coming in for criticism from both sets of fans for his ineffective performances. In fact, the 2002 World Cup winner requested that his contract with Fluminense be terminated after just nine appearances – feeling unable to give the best account of himself on the pitch.

Football fans everywhere would love to see the ex-Barca man back with a spring in his step, but a move to a Premier League club seems an extreme long-shot at this late and wayward stage of his career. It’s a shame, as Tony Pulis and West Brom could certainly do with the creativity. For the rest of us, we’ll always have the highlight reels.

 

Jose Bosingwa

Likelihood of Premier League Transfer: 1/5

A bit of a forgotten man of Premier League past, Jose Bosingwa was much sought after in the summer of 2008. Coming in from Porto to the tune of 20 million euro, the Portugal international started his Chelsea career with a bang, scoring two goals within his first month at the club before regressing to a solid mean.

A reliable but unheralded performer, Didier Drogba recently gave huge credit to his ex-teammate, when recalling the Blues’ dogged Champions League semi-final triumph over Barcelona back in 2012.

Now 33 years old, Trabzonspor of Turkey released him in 2015 after two seasons at the club. Is he worth a punt for Premier League clubs at this stage? His QPR years were forgettable, but a freebie is a freebie and the Norwich Citys and Bournemouths of this world could do with his wealth of experience, on a short term basis.

 

Emmanuel Eboue

Likelihood of Premier League Transfer: 2/5

Another full-back in his early 30s just looking for a way back into the game. Emmanuel Eboue is now free from a hellish stint at Galatasaray which finished with him playing in their under-21 side for the best part of a season.

He was often a figure of fun in his later Arsenal days, but the Ivorian international had his moments of quality. Unsurprisingly, Eboue has sounded out his old stomping ground as a possible transfer destination.

We are looking for options but I’d love to come back to Arsenal – Eboue told The Sun

It wouldn’t be the first time an ex-Arsenal player has come back on a short-term spell – his old teammate Thierry Henry did so memorably in 2012 for a loan stint, and more recently Mathieu Flamini has returned with mixed results.

You get the feeling however, that the return of Eboue wouldn’t be top of Arsene Wenger’s priority list as he looks to deliver their first league title in over a decade.

 

Leandro Damiao

Likelihood of Premier League Transfer: 1/5

A near constant name floating around the gossip columns of 2012, Leandro Damiao never did get that much rumoured move to Tottenham Hotspur.

The Brazilian international lit up his domestic league with Internacional, but could never replicate that sensational form in his one season with domestic giants Santos – scoring a disappointing return of just six league goals.

Still just 26 years old, Damiao has much to offer in the tank and with the pending move of compatriot Alexandre Pato to Chelsea, he may pique the interested of a number of clubs short on firepower.

Reports suggest that a move to La Liga with Real Betis may be the most likely choice of destination, but you certainly could picture Mark Hughes and Stoke City coaxing the sleeping talent out of this once sought-after forward.

 

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