Players left as free agents even after the transfer window closed

A goalkeeper with over 500 appearances, one of the Premier League’s best-ever players and a World Cup winner… the stars still left as free agents after deadline day

  • A host of big-name players remain without a club after the window closed 
  • The likes of David de Gea, Sergio Ramos and Eden Hazard are on the market 
  • Here, Mail Sport takes a look at 10 of the biggest superstars stuck in limbo 

The transfer merry-go-round may be a wild ride for many, but for the others stuck watching on from the sidelines, it can be an altogether more sobering experience. 

Not everyone, of course, will be thrust into the spotlight courtesy of jaw-dropping, multi-million-pound moves, with a host of players still free agents and therefore available for absolutely nothing even after the summer window slammed shut. 

Indeed, there are seasoned internationals boasting hundreds of appearances for club and country and household names who have dropped off the radar in recent years stuck in the bargain bin, perhaps plotting their routes back into the game.

Clubs worldwide will be able to sign unattached players after the deadline, provided they were released by their previous sides before the end of the window. This is the case for most of the players on the market, affording them a glimmer of hope.

And so, as potential suitors circle and weigh up these cost-effective options, Mail Sport takes a look at 10 of the best players searching for a new home…

David de Gea remains a free agent after his 12-year Manchester United stint came to an end

Eden Hazard is also without a club despite the winger enjoying a superb spell with Chelsea


What may smart most for David de Gea is his lack of a Manchester United farewell. 

Even after his admirable 12 years of service, there was no testimonial. There was no notice ahead of his final game, either. Instead, the goalkeeper was made to pick the ball out of his net twice in the FA Cup final and then pack up his desk.

It is believed his mistakes during the second half of the season made up Erik ten Hag’s mind and United chose to move into this season with a brand new No 1.

De Gea recently shared footage of him training hard while waiting for the phone to ring and surely, one of the world’s biggest clubs will come calling.

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich both passed him over despite the injuries to Thibaut Courtois and Manuel Neuer respectively, but De Gea is undoubtedly good enough to continue plying his trade at the top, regardless of his limited distribution.

De Gea was seemingly passed over by both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid this summer


A Premier League return is seemingly beckoning for Jesse Lingard this summer. 

He remains a free agent after leaving Nottingham Forest at the end of last season, having initially been a breath of fresh air with his enthusiasm and beaming smile before his drop down the pecking order. His fitness issues had piled up, too.

However, his former club West Ham may well help bring a swift end to his state of limbo. After he began training with them, it is said they may offer him a contract.

Lingard spent the second half of the 2020-21 season at the London Stadium and enjoyed a memorable purple patch that saw him score nine goals and rack up five assists in 16 Premier League appearances. Consistency, as they say, is key.

Regardless of any potential sharpness issues, the creative playmaker has the ability to slot seamlessly back into the top-flight and make an immediate impact. 

A Premier League return may beckon for Jesse Lingard, who is training with West Ham


The latest rumours have touted Eden Hazard with a shock move to Scotland. 

Still a free agent after bringing his torrid spell at Real Madrid to an end, Hazard has received a multitude of offers but is yet to accept any of them. That is potentially because he is considering retiring aged just 32 in a shock move.

Despite him undoubtedly being one of the Premier League’s greatest ever players, his years since his heroics at Chelsea have been miserable. Hazard has struggled with his general fitness and injury woes that have stacked up into a teetering pile.

It is no surprise, then, that he may well end up calling it a day.

Should he change his mind, though, there will be several offers that could take his fancy, with proposals from England, the United States, Spain, France and Saudi Arabia said to have been made. On his day, he remains untouchable.

Hazard has been linked with a shock move to Scotland but is said to be considering retirement


Captain, leader, legend and now unemployed. The towering Sergio Ramos has been without a club since earlier this summer after his Paris Saint-Germain deal expired.

A number of eye-catching offers from Saudi Arabia are thought to have been lodged but Ramos turned them down, seemingly laser focused on another challenge likely to come in Europe. Galatasaray are the latest club teased with a swoop.

Wherever he does end up will likely be his final move, with Ramos now 37 and firmly in the midst of his twilight years. But his ambition still burns bright and he is not about to take a step down from the top level of the sport if he can help it.

There may be injury concerns lurking at the back of his mind, though.

Ramos was struck down by setbacks during his final season at Real Madrid and missed almost all of his first campaign at PSG, but he turned his fortunes around to become ever-present. Even with creaking legs, he is a Rolls Royce of a defender. 

Ramos departed PSG at the end of last season and is keen to remain at the top of the sport


The career of Phil Jones has petered out into a story of tragedy. Snapped by Sir Alex Ferguson by 2011 and hailed by him as a future England captain, Jones instead tumbled down the ranks at Manchester United and struggled with crippling injuries.

He made 229 appearances in total at Old Trafford but suffered a knee problem in June 2020 that saw him miss out on over 70 games. Jones was subsequently unable to rediscover his footing despite his valiant efforts to build up his fitness.

His contract at United expired at the end of the season and despite the club holding the option to extend it by a further year, they chose to let him leave as a free agent.

Greek side Aris are said to have weighed up signing him but as of yet, no transfer has materialised, meaning the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Europa League and Community Shield winner remains without a club at the start of this season.

There is nothing but goodwill toward Jones at United and the hope is that he will find a new home sooner rather than later, in the hope of sparking his career back to life. 

Phil Jones was released by Manchester United despite his valiant bid to shake off injuries


Remember the name, Manchester City supporters? 

It would be fair to suggest that Stevan Jovetic’s career has followed a topsy-turvy trajectory. He had been one of the most sought-after young players when City swooped to sign him for £22million in 2013 but made just 44 appearances in total.

The striker won the Premier League and Carabao Cup nine years ago under Manuel Pellegrini, though he quickly became the forgotten man after suffering from a string of niggling injuries. Bizarrely, the severity of these were even brought into question.

Since leaving City, he has played for the likes of Inter Milan, Sevilla and Monaco. More recently, Jovetic turned out for Hertha Berlin but was powerless to prevent them from being relegated from the Bundesliga and departed shortly after.

Worryingly, he has scored more than 10 club goals in just one of his nine seasons post-City, though this is somewhat offset by his strong international displays with Montenegro. This summer, he has been linked with Iranian side Persepolis.

Stevan Jovetic, formerly of Manchester City, most recently played for Hertha Berlin


For former Watford midfielder Roberto Pereyra, new doors are swinging open seemingly every day. There is no shortage of interest in him, especially from Italy. 

He may remain on this list for the time being, but it is just a matter of time before he decides upon his next move. His contract with Serie A side Udinese ran out at the end of June but the same club are weighing up offering him another deal.

Meanwhile, Sampdoria and Inter Milan are also circling, with Pereyra keen to stay in Italian football this season, according to his representatives. The fact he is also available for free would be a significant boost for the cash-strapped Inter.

Regardless, the wait for a decision goes on. Pereyra’s agent has insisted there there have been no ‘satisfying offers’ on the table, including from clubs abroad. Clearly, his camp are holding out for more and believes their client justifies their demands.

Pereyra, of course, played for the Hornets between 2016 and 2020. 

Former Watford midfielder Roberto Pereyra has received several offers to stay in Italy


Despite being whisked off to Turkey on deadline day, Alfredo Morelos was instead left cursing his blotted disciplinary record during his time at Rangers.

Indeed, according to reports, Fenerbahce pulled out of a deal to sign the bullish striker in part because of his aggressive style. So, instead Morelos was left out in the cold just hours before the window closed, stood up like a nightmarish first date. 

His poor final spell at Ibrox saw him become a free agent this summer, despite him also being able to pen a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs from January. 

There were other factors involved in Fenerbahce’s sudden U-turn, notably moving parts surrounding other incomings and outgoings, but the bottom line is that Morelos remains without a club with the new campaign almost in full swing.

Will anyone else take the punt?

Alfredo Morelos reportedly missed out on a move to Turkey over his disciplinary record


It may be best for all parties concerned to forget about Jean-Philippe Gbamin’s Everton stint. After all, a series of injuries reduced him to a bit-part player during his four years at Goodison Park and ruined what promised to be an admirable move.

He initially arrived for £23m from Mainz but suffered a significant quad muscle tear just a week after his debut. Subsequently, the midfielder managed just three senior starts during his entire stay at Goodison Park, with plaguing setbacks stacking up.

Gbamin was loaned out to CSKA Moscow and Trabzonspor but by the time the final year of his contract at Everton had ticked into play, it was effectively decided that he would not return. The next step was to decide upon a mutual termination. 

Reports that Cadiz were interested were shot down by Gbamin’s camp and Everton had held out for £5m before deciding to tear up his deal shortly after. 

It remains to be seen where he moves next.

Jean-Philippe Gbamin played just a handful of games before his Everton deal was ripped up


Released from Manchester United and desperate for game time this season, Axel Tuanzebe has been in active discussions with several interested clubs. 

He first appeared on the radar at Luton, who took him on a trial period. However, an agreement could not be reached, boss Rob Edwards confirmed. That has left the door open for other potential suitors, with Ipswich Town also keen.

Managed by former United youth and first-team coach Kieran McKenna, Ipswich will continue speaking with Tuanzebe this weekend, with the upcoming international break providing the ideal opportunity to perhaps hash out a deal.

It has been reported that the versatile defender, who once successfully marshalled Kylian Mbappe in the Champions League, was at Portman Road on deadline day. 

He struggled for senior appearances, though, and was let go this summer.

Axel Tuanzebe has spoken to several clubs and spent a period on trial with Luton Town


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