On the FLIP Side

Free Transfer XI: The best players still on the market

Written by Jordan Willis

The transfer window may have long since closed but some players are still scrapping for employment after the deadline, and some clubs are equally desperate for reinforcements. We’ve made a team out of those wandering the barren, clubless wastes, that we think could do a job in the top two flights of English football.

GOALKEEPER:

Stewart Taylor – The former Arsenal, Manchester City, Leeds and England U21 player has played out his career on the substitute bench, and we imagine would be happy to do so for another club in the final years of his career. A figure who’s been round the block (a familiar theme in this list), he would provide good experience for younger keepers at the club.

DEFENDERS:

Emmanuel Eboue – Another ex-Arsenal player, the Ivorian became more fondly known for his off the pitch antics than achievements on it. Often a scapegoat, Eboue is a more talented player than is regularly appreciated, and his significant spell at Turkish giants Galatasary evidences this. Only recently turning 32, with Champions League and World Cup experience, Eboue could still be a good figure for a club overly reliant on youth.

Ron Vlaar – Once touted as a future Manchester United defender, the 30 year old Dutchman turned down a new contract at Aston Villa before being blighted by injury. Three operations in less than a year mean a long road to recovery, but a club willing to gamble will get an experienced, no nonsense defender who could still have a lot to offer in top flight football.

Joseph Yobo – the Nigerian centre back has made over 100 appearances for his country, and boasts an impressive CV including Everton, Marseille and most recently Norwich. The Canaries chose not to extend his loan stay in the East, so the tall Nigerian is still in search for a club this season.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto – There once was a time when Assou-Ekotto was a prized, attacking full back, plying his trade in an exciting Spurs side that eventually saw Champions League football. Often harshly criticised for his ‘just-a-job’ attitude to the game, Ekotto’s form has dropped off in quality since two loans at QPR, but a fresh start could well prove rejuvenating for the 31 year old.

MIDFIELDERS:

Wilson Palacios – Palacios, a mainstay in Honduras’ midfield for over a decade, is without a club after being released from Stoke City this summer. A trial at Hull City, for a Spurs reunion with Huddlestone and Livermore, proved unsuccessful. However, the Honduran is flexible and hard working and could sit at the base of midfield for a number of clubs in the Championship.

Kevin Nolan – Currently training at Leyton Orient after being released by West Ham this summer, Nolan has received plenty of offers to play in England, but wishes to stay in London and not unsettle family life. A dangerous presence in the box, Nolan still has a lot to offer as a squad player.

Jermaine Jenas – in between appearances on prime time television as a pundit and maintaining a celebrity status well above his standing as a player, Jenas is nominally still a professional footballer. Jenas spent 8 years at Spurs after a bright start to his career at Newcastle, and has amassed 21 England caps in his career. Only 32, Jenas is a knowledgeable and calm figure for the dressing room, who might just introduce you to Gary Lineker if you’re nice enough to him.

ATTACKERS:

Royston Drenthe – The former Real Madrid winger has been known to lack temperament, but his talent is undeniable. A semi-successful loan spell at Everton in recent years shows he still has the talent to play in the top leagues, and at 28 would provide some much needed youth and pace to the side. Short spells in Russia and Turkey haven’t worked out for Royston, but who knows; maybe this next move will be the one that fits?

Emmanuel Adebayor
– If you need a striker to come in and hit the ground running, Adebayor is your man. Though it is unlikely he will run much after his first few weeks at the club, if the Togo international finds a manager who will put faith in him, and him in turn put faith in God, he may well relive some of the form that earned him moves to Arsenal, Manchester City and Real Madrid. The man has undeniable talent and can score for fun, but perhaps he just needs a bit more Tim Sherwood in his life to realise his true potential.

Shola Ameobi
– The Newcastle mainstay and Nigerian international spent 14 years on Tyneside before a brief move to London to help Crystal Palace’s great escape, but has since found himself without a club. The question all responsible managers have to ask themselves is – do we want to live in a world where Shola Ameobi isn’t playing football? I know I don’t.

About the author

Jordan Willis