All professional footballers have contracts that they must sign and adhere to, in order to feature for their clubs. Should their contract expire, they are allowed to join a new club for free through an agreement on personal terms.
A free agent can be recruited in the following ways:
- Agreeing to a pre-contract with them six months before the expiry of their current deal
- Negotiating a new deal after the expiry of their contract
- Confirming fresh terms after the termination of a previous contract and the player is without a club
In 2023, there have been several such transfers and some of them have taken the footballing world by surprise. Are you interested in taking the chances to wager on such events in football? Check out www.mightytips.hu today.
So, here are the ten best free deals completed in the summer transfer window prior to the 21/22 season.
1. Ryan Bertrand (Southampton to Leicester)
Bertrand featured for Southampton since making a permanent transfer to St. Mary’s in 2015. The left-back fulfilled his contractual obligations and has now been recruited by Leicester City.
The 32-year-old came through the Chelsea academy and featured in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich that gave him a winner’s medal. He has also won the Europa League and an FA Cup with the Blues, which makes him a great recruit for Brendan Rodgers’ ambitious squad.
2. Elseid Hysaj (Napoli to Lazio)
Hysaj featured for Napoli from 2015 through 21. The right-back made over 200 appearances for the Naples outfit and played for fellow Italian club Empoli prior to joining them.
He is now a part of Maurizio Sarri’s new-look lineup and could be one of their most important talents going ahead. The player is in his prime, at 27, and has a four-year deal with the Biancocelesti.
3. Memphis Depay (Lyon to Barcelona)
Depay was extremely close to joining Barcelona in 2023, but the Spanish club could not come up with a bid to convince Lyon. As a result, the Dutch forward played out the last year of his contract and departed the club for free.
Taking over the number 9 shirt at Barcelona from Martin Braithwaite, Memphis Depay is set to be one of the stars of the Barcelona frontline following his reunion with former Dutch national team coach Ronald Koeman at Camp Nou.
4. Sergio Aguero (Man City to Barcelona)
A transfer that has been a very long time in the making, Sergio Aguero decided to move on from Manchester City after establishing himself as an undisputed legend at the club. He came mighty close to winning the Champions League with the club but was defeated by Chelsea.
Aguero hoped to play with his best friend Lionel Messi at Camp Nou. But, Barcelona could not agree to a new contract with their captain which forced him to depart. Aguero formerly featured for Atletico Madrid in La Liga, and has decent experience in the Spanish league.
5. Hakan Calhanoglu (AC Milan to Inter Milan)
Calhanoglu joined the list of players to cross the Milan divide, which features former teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The move came as a surprise given the number of big clubs interested in him.
Much like Gianluigi Donnarumma, the Turkish midfielder was unable to reach an agreement on financial terms, and was recruited by Inter Milan on a free deal.
6. David Alaba (Bayern Munich to Real Madrid)
After spending more than a decade with Bayern Munich, as he came through their academy, Alaba decided to move on in 2023. The Austrian mentioned that he dreamt of moving to Real Madrid, and the deal was announced early in the transfer window after a lot of speculation.
The new signing is now the highest-paid defender in the world and has taken over Ramos’ number 4 shirt at the Spanish capital. Given his valuation in the transfer market, Alaba is among the most expensive players to be signed for free.
7. Gini Wijnaldum (Liverpool to PSG)
Wijnaldum was offered several contracts by Liverpool in winter 2023. However, the two parties could not reach an agreement for the salary that Wijnaldum wanted.
As a result, the player ran down his contract and was available for free. He had a verbal agreement in place with Barcelona, and was about to appear for medicals and complete the deal before PSG swooped in with a better offer and lured the Dutchman away to their club instead.
8. Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan to PSG)
Donnarumma was given the Player of the Tournament Award at Euro 2023, as he starred for Italy in their successful campaign. He is one of the best goalkeepers in the world right now, despite being in his early 20s.
The Italian could not agree a new deal with his boyhood club, AC Milan, due to financial issues. As a result, he has decided to join Mauricio Pochettino and international teammate Marco Verratti at his new destination.
9. Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid to PSG)
After several months of contrasting reports surrounding Sergio Ramos’ contract situation with Real Madrid, the defender ended up leaving the club since he missed a deadline to renew his deal. Ramos left Madrid after 15 years with them, and winning everything there is to win playing club and national football.
PSG were the only club in contact with his agent during this time, and they acted quickly to bring the iconic centre-back to the French capital, on a free deal.
10. Lionel Messi (Barcelona to PSG)
The six-time Ballon d’Or, and arguably the greatest player in Barcelona’s history ended his 21-year association with the club this summer. La Liga’s wage cap rules prevented Barcelona from renewing Messi’s contract, and the forward is now reunited with Neymar at Paris.
Messi will wear the number 30 shirt at his new club, just like he did in the beginning of his Barcelona career, and has a two-year deal with the Ligue 1 club.
With such big names like Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos changing clubs for free this summer, some would say that 2023 had the most unbelievable transfer window in history.