Meet the Freebie XI! The Premier League players without a club as deadline day approaches
13:01 GMT, 28 August 2012
With the transfer window closing on Friday, managers have
just hours left to finalise their playing staff for the season. Cue frantic
cheque book scribbling, rushing to and from hospital for medicals and deadline
day clockwatch excitement on Sky Sports News.
But amid the transfer madness, there are plenty of players without a club to play for. These free agents, all with plenty still to offer, were released by their clubs over the summer and haven't yet committed to someone else.
Here, Sportsmail looks at some of the names still
on display in the transfer window.
Between the sticks
One of nine players released by Sunderland at the start
of the summer, Scottish international goalkeeper Gordon has yet to find a new
club after being linked to clubs as diverse as Celtic, Udinese and Bristol
After an eight-month injury lay-off at the start of last
season, Gordon, 29, found himself out of favour at Sunderland and he made just
He remains an outstanding keeper and has been told by Scotland
manager Craig Levein to find a club if he wants to be part of the 2014 World
Scotland international goalkeeper Craig Gordon is one of the biggest names still unattached before the close of the summer transfer window
Former Spain right-back Salgado fell victim to the
pre-season clear-out at Blackburn following their relegation from the Premier
League. After ten sparkling years at Real Madrid, in which he won the Champions
League twice and four La Liga titles, Salgado’s move to Blackburn was intended
as a final move.
But after starting last season as Steve Kean’s first
choice, until an injury curtailed his season, Salgado has not announced his
retirement and clearly feels that, at 36, there is more in the tank.
He has already dismissed offers to end his
career in Qatar or alongside former Real teammate David Beckham at LA Galaxy
and intends to remain in England.
Salgado, seen here challenging Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, is looking for a new club at 36
Welsh international Gabbidon, 33, was unable to hold down
a regular starting place under Mark Hughes at Queens Park Rangers last season
and found himself part of the summer clear-out at Loftus Road.
Veteran of 46 Wales caps and almost 400 career outings,
Gabbidon could surely serve as a tough tackling centre-half for a side in the
top couple of divisions in English football.
Papa Bouba Diop
Diop will play no part in West Ham’s return to the
Premier League after his contract wasn’t renewed and it looks as though the
powerful and versatile Senegalese player will once again by moving this summer.
Deployable either as a defensive midfielder or a
centre-back, Diop, best known for scoring the goal that beat France at the 2002
World Cup, made 16 league appearances for the Hammers in their promotion
Papa Bouba Diop is looking for another club after being released by West Ham over the summer
Diop’s compatriot blew full time on five-and-a-half-years
with Stoke City at the end of last season, saying he would prefer to continue
playing than take up the coaching role offered by Tony Pulis.
He played just 14 matches last season, mainly in the
Europa League, and struggled with a knee injury. The 35-year-old will be
looking for his fifth club in England – Liverpool were the first, with loan
spells at Birmingham and Portsmouth later on – to round off his career.
A club servant of 14 years, Jamaican winger Gardner, 33,
parted company with Bolton following their relegation from the top flight. His
mammoth tally of 409 club appearances made him a fan favourite and the second
longest serving foreign player in the Premier League – his teammate Jussi
Jaaskelainen being the first.
But chances in the starting XI became few and far between
in the last two seasons and Gardner was left with no choice but to make a
wrenching exit. Suitable for any club seeking cover on the left of midfield or
at left wing-back.
No fitness videos on YouTube this summer, but Hargreaves
is once again facing a deadline day without a club to play for. He has been
training with QPR over the summer in a desperate bid to salvage his career, but
the London club have not signed the hard-working defensive midfielder.
He spent last season with Manchester City but made just
one league appearance despite remaining clear of the knee problems which have
dogged his career. Once again finds himself looking for a club willing to give
him another chance.
Owen Hargreaves celebrates scoring for Man City against Birmingham in the Carling Cup last season but the former England midfielder spent only was year at the club
Another player who has fallen foul of persistent
injuries, Bodde was released after five years at Swansea back in June. The
Dutch midfielder suffered three cruciate ligament injuries during his time at
the Liberty Stadium, restricting him to just 54 games over five seasons.
His latest setback came in February when he was injured
after just two minutes of a reserve game, underwent surgery and was ruled out
for another six months.
There was no place for Bodde in the plans of new
manager Michael Laudrup and he is on the look-out for a new club.
Reo-Coker triggered a relegation release clause when
Bolton dropped out of the top flight at the end of last season and the
midfielder has yet to be picked up by another club.
His obvious intention was to sign for another Premier
League club, having previously played for West Ham and Aston Villa, but he may
have to compromise with time running out.
The Bolton defender Zat Knight has
called for Reo-Coker, who was once tipped to be an England regular, to return
to the Reebok Stadium and help their efforts to bounce back.
Nigel Reo-Coker celebrates scoring for Bolton against Liverpool last season but he was released after the club's relegation from the Premier League
Predictably given their transfer targets, Owen was
released by Manchester United having slipped to at best sixth on the club’s
striking pecking order.
The 32-year-old said this week that he has no doubt
he’ll sign for a Premier League club before the end of the transfer window,
with Stoke City and Everton reportedly interested.
He spent three seasons at Old Trafford, scoring 17 times
in 52 games, which was nothing like his early career form for Liverpool after
suffering a number of injury setbacks.
The striker, who has 40 goals for
England, is keen to continue playing in the Premier League before concentrating
on his future horse racing career.
Michael Owen has started his own stables in Cheshire but insists he is not yet ready to quit football
A former partner of Owen for Liverpool and England,
Heskey found himself a free agent after being released by Aston Villa this
summer. He managed just one goal in 34 appearances last season as Villa
struggled in the Premier League.
He has been linked with a number of Championship clubs
over the summer, including Ipswich Town, Hull City and Leicester City, but none
has made a move to sign him. He reportedly dismissed out of hand a guarantee of
first-team football on 90-a-week from Blackpool.
On the bench
Released by Everton after failing to force Tim Howard out
of the first team last season, experienced goalkeeper Hahnemann is looking for a
club with which to end his career, having turned 40 over the summer.
Previous spells at Reading and Wolves provided a wealth
of Premier League experience, with nearly 500 career appearances to his name.
Hahnemann would surely make a worthy understudy for a lower half Premier League
or Championship team.
Australian defensive midfielder Grella was another
departure from Ewood Park, though his exit has been likely for some time having
made just nine appearances in the last two seasons.
Grella, 32, does have a
chequered record with injuries, after a succession of knee, groin and calf
knocks severely limited his playing time at Blackburn.
In fact, club owners Venky’s took the unusual step of
disclosing the salaries of Grella – and others – to speed up a potential move.
It revealed that the player was on 30,000-a-week with an appearance bonus of
2,000-a-game, something that hasn’t been called upon much of late.
Former Scotland international McFadden is looking for a
new club for a second consecutive summer after being shown the door by Everton.
His second spell at Goodison Park was unsuccessful, however, and he had to wait
until April to make a start.
Following his departure, he has been training with
Motherwell, his first club, but manager Stuart McCall dismissed any speculation
that the Fir Park club might sign him.
James McFadden's return to Everton lasted just one season and the striker is now looking for a new club
Yet another player to leave Bolton in the summer spring
clean, Croatian striker Klasnic was courted by Sheffield Wednesday a couple of
months ago, only for the deal to fizzle out.
The 32-year-old was Bolton’s top scorer
with nine goals in a miserable season and would surely guarantee at least that
number of goals for his new club.
A turbulent summer for the Norwegian, who was released by
West Ham after their promotion and declared bankrupt after owing the French tax
authorities a six-figure sum.
The clubs have hardly been scrambling for the
32-year-old forward either, after he scored just two goals last season in 15