Close this search box.

The best 11 Football free agent stars available in 2023

Some gems will be available on a free transfer this summer, and could save clubs a heap of cash

Free transfers are always fan favourites. Low risk options with the potential to be stars for their new clubs, players moving for free is becoming more and more common as transfer fees balloon, and there are always plenty of gems to be had if clubs move fast enough.

There are several that we haven’t included on this list, with their futures seemingly certain. Lionel Messi, for instance, is set to stay with Paris Saint Germain while Milan Skiriniar will join the French Champions when his deal with Inter Milan runs out.

All of Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are in talks over new contracts with Real Madrid, while Caglar Soyuncu is Atletico Madrid bound and Roberto Firmino remains in talks with Liverpool, with all parties hoping for a new deal at Anfield.

Despite this, there are plenty of options for clubs on a budget to choose from, and we’ve rounded up the best XI of those below.

Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach)

Part of the French side that reached the World Cup final in Qatar, Thuram turned down the chance to move away from Germany this January, instead opting to take his future into his own hands this summer as a free agent.

With 10 goals in 18 Bundesliga outings this season, he is almost sure to be an excellent addition to just about any side, and having been linked with a move to Chelsea, Newcastle United and Barcelona in recent months, the 25-year-old could be in for a significant change in environment.

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Previously linked with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona and Juventus, he will have his pick of Europe’s top clubs, and still just 31 years old he can offer plenty to his next side.

Youri Tielemans (Leicester City)

Another man with plenty of Premier League experience, Leicester City are set to lose Youri Tielemans on a free transfer this summer, with the Belgian having turned down any new deal at the King Power Stadium.

At one point seemingly Arsenal bound, that link has since cooled and Tielemans looks set to be an excellent option as a free agent this summer when his contract runs out. Still just 25-years-old and with almost 150 Premier League appearances under his belt, the midfielder will have no shortage of suitors.

Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid)

Once on the verge of a £92m move to Arsenal, it is safe to say that Lemar has failed to live up to his hefty price tag during his stint with Atletico Madrid. The midfielder has looked lost at times in Diego Simeone’s conservative system, and has lost the spark that made him so highly coveted while at AS Monaco.

But, come the summer he will be available on a free transfer, and though his stock has dropped dramatically since his days in Ligue 1, the 27-year-old could yet prove a shrewd addition to plenty of sides.

Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)

As it stands, Ilkay Gundogan will be a 32-year-old free agent this summer, with talks over a new contract at Manchester City ongoing but not close to a resolution.

Should he leave, it would leave yet another experienced and quality midfielder on the market for nothing, with the German able to lay claim to four Premier League titles during his time at the Etihad.

Pep Guardiola’s first signing, he is reportedly on the wishlists of Arsenal, Barcelona and Juventus, while there will be those in Germany keen to tempt him back to his homeland.

Evan Ndicka (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Left-footed central defenders are rare, and well-priced options even more so. Fortunately for interested parties, Evan N’Dicka ticks both of those boxes.

A Europa League winner with Eintracht Frankfurt last season, the 23-year-old has already racked up over 150 professional appearances, and at 6ft3inches tall is an imposing figure at the heart of defence.

Linked with Tottenham and West Ham, as well as clubs across Europe, he could be a shrewd acquisition for any side,

Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt)

A second prized pony seemingly leaving the Frankfurt stable for nothing this summer, Kamada has impressed plenty with his showings for the German club during his stint with the club.

Perhaps most famous for scoring twice in Unai Emery’s final game at the Arsenal helm, the Japan international is not as young as his teammate (though he is only 26) and offers plenty of versatility, having played as a striker, number 10 and central midfielder.

Linked with Tottenham and Liverpool, there is little doubt that he will get a move to a bigger club this summer. The question is, who?

N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)

Though he has been injured for much of this season, N’Golo Kante remains a world-class player when available, as his performances in the Champions League under Thomas Tuchel demonstrated.

The Frenchman is out of contract this summer, and as it stands is not ready to sign another with the 31-year-old keen on a 3+ year contract. Long-linked to Barcelona, he will be free to choose his next club and is likely to have no shortage of suitors.

Houssem Aouar (Olympique Lyonnais)

Linked with a move away from Ligue 1 every summer, whether it be £60m to Arsenal or a loan to Nottingham Forest, Houssem Aouar’s saga with Lyon is set to come to an end this summer, with the Frenchman’s contract up at the end of the season.

There is certainly still a top player in the 24-year-old, and though he is no longer linked to the biggest clubs around Europe, he will still attract plenty of attention before the beginning of next season.

Adama Traore (Wolves)

Another player long linked with a move away from their club, Adama even got his when he went on loan to Barcelona, only for the Catalan side to refuse the option to buy the Spaniard at the end of the season, instead sending him back to Wolves.

Now set to walk away for nothing this summer, Tottenham have been long-term admirers but the addition of Pedro Porro may have put an end to that. It leaves the race for his signature wide open.

Marco Asensio (Real Madrid)

Last but not least is Marco Asensio, who seems to be heading out of the door at the Santiago Bernabeu this summer as it stands.

The Spaniard burst onto the scene with Los Blancos, but never really continued his form and seems to be surplus to requirements in Carlo Ancelotti’s squad.

Undoubtedly still talented, he could make the long-rumoured move to the Premier League this summer.

Read more:


Picture of Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *