Story by Seng Ton
Freebies! …Good Now That I’ve Got Your Attention
It’s not just us football fans that suffer the depression of the recession, and in recent times clubs have taken to alternative methods in acquiring players. A ruling which originated in about 1995, called what we know it as “The Bosman ruling” came into practice. This means that players without a contract could negotiate terms with other clubs independently, and essentially move on a free transfer. As the recipient club wouldn’t need the former club to pay a transfer fee for taking their player to the new club. Numerous clubs along the line have benefitted greatly from this ruling as it can mean quality players moving to new clubs with only their wages to worry about. Not all football clubs are backed by stupidly rich Arab or Thai owners or Indian chicken meat processing companies. So this means most clubs outside this bubble will have no choice but to look in alternative markets, like the loan and free transfers categories. It also means that professional players have been given added power, in that they are able to purposely run down their contract if they wish to leave a club. And this won’t make clubs happy (and rightly so) as the player can then leave for nothing as opposed to for a fee. This fee could potentially save a club or at least make them more financially stable in the near future. But it is widely perceived that a modern player is more like a mercenary than somebody who cares about the club.
Seng’s Best Free Transfers (1995-2011)
Here are some of the best free transfers / bosman rulings to have ever taken place in British and European football from the 1995-2011. And I really hope that by just mentioning these, it’ll spark off some great memories. There’s a fair few Sam Allardyce bargains present too, which Bolton fans are going to love to reminisce about. And finally, yes I still think Joe Cole is a brilliant player, as he wasn’t given a chance at Liverpool and showed he’s still got it by performing amicably with Lille in France. In my opinion should probably have got into Roy Hodgson’s England Euro 2012 squad instead of Stewart Downing.
Demba Ba from West Ham United to Newcastle United in 2011.
Joe Cole from Chelsea to Liverpool in 2010.
Mark Schwarzer from Middlesbrough to Fulham in 2008.
Geovanni from Manchester City to Hull City in 2008.
David Beckham from Real Madrid to LA Galaxy in 2007.
Michael Ballack from Bayern Munich to Chelsea in 2006.
Kanu from West Bromwich Albion to Portsmouth in 2006.
Edgar Davids from Inter Milan to Tottenham Hotspur in 2005.
Luis Figo from Real Madrid to Inter Milan in 2005.
Henrik Larrsson from Celtic to Barcelona in 2004.
Fernando Hierro from Al Rayyan to Bolton Wanderers in 2004.
Jean-Alain Boumsong from Auxerre to Rangers in 2004.
Christophe Dugarry from Marseille to BirminghamCity in 2003.
Kevin Davies from Southampton to Bolton Wanderers in 2003.
Youri Djorkaeff from Kaiserslautern to Bolton Wanderers in 2002.
Paul Merson from Aston Villa to Portsmouth in 2002.
Jay-Jay Okocha from Paris Saint-Germain to Bolton Wanderers in 2002.
Sol Campbell from Tottenham Hotspur to Arsenal in 2001.
Jari Litmanen from Barcelona to Liverpool in 2001.
Teddy Sheringham from Manchester United to Tottenham Hotspur in 2001.
Robert Prosinecki from Standard Liege to Portsmouth in 2001.
Brad Friedel from Liverpool to Blackburn Rovers in 2000.
Paul Lambert from Motherwell to Borussia Dortmund in 1996.
Gianluca Vialli from Juventus to Chelsea in 1996.
John Collins from Celtic to Monaco in 1996.
Ruud Gullit from AC Milan to Chelsea in 1995.
Seng’s Picks of Summer 2012 Free Transfers
Here are some free transfers which are still available for clubs to pounce on. There are a few gems in this list, and I feel most will be a welcome addition to any squad. And clubs can capture some real legends in the game including names like Italian household names like Alessandro Nesta and Alessandro Del Piero, German midfield legend Michael Ballack and England goal machine Michael Owen. Great players who have proved they can perform in the Premier League also feature here, most notably Canadian hotshot Junior Hoilett, Ivory Coast’s reliable Salomon Kalou and France’s Louis Saha who has scored goals for each of the clubs he’s been at. These names will definitely be hot property in the current free transfer market.
Craig Gordon (94 appearances for Sunderland and 40 caps for Scotland)
Manuel Almunia (175 appearances for Arsenal and 53 Premier League clean sheets)
Danny Shittu (187 appearances for Queens Park Rangers and 28 caps for Nigeria)
Alessandro Nesta (587 Serie A appearances and 78 caps for Italy)
Cristian Chivu (276 Serie A appearances and 75 caps for Romania)
Jose Bosingwa (89 appearances for Chelsea and 10 Premier League goals)
Michel Salgado (434 La Liga appearances and 53 caps for Spain)
Michael Ballack (119 Bundesliga goals and 98 caps for Germany)
Nigel Reo-Coker (120 appearances for West Ham United)
Owen Hargreaves (42 caps for England and 218 appearances for Bayern Munich)
Salomon Kalou (60 Premier League goals and 40 assists)
Junior Hoilett (14 Premier League goals and 9 assists)
Alessandro Del Piero (262 Serie A goals and 91 caps for Italy)
Louis Saha (146 Premier League goals)
Michael Owen (205 Premier League goals, 89 caps and 40 goals for England)
Emile Heskey (151 Premier League goals, 62 caps and 7 goals for England)
Will all these players listed, as well as other free agents, find new clubs or will they find their retirement plans instead by the end of the transfer window? Although age may have caught up with some of the more experienced players, their skill and awareness shouldn’t have perished too much (excluding fitness, stamina and pace of course). As that is the danger of purposely running down your contract, other clubs may see this as a lack of loyalty (yes there isn’t much in the modern game). But this display isn’t exactly a desirable trait that a potential suitor club likes to see. So players who use this particular trick may end up at a club, a division or sometimes country they didn’t expect to see themselves until much later in their playing career.