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Familiar faces: Coral’s 10 former big-name free agents

| 01.07.2015

Now that the transfer window has officially opened for business, a host of free agents should flood the market and, among potential bargain buys such as Ron Vlaar and John Guidetti are a raft of nostalgic names and familiar faces.

So, Coral writers cast an eye over 10 ageing stars that could be snapped-up or left on the shelf…

Alberto Aquilani
A Roman born and bred, midfield schemer Aquilani never quite lived up to expectations, partly due to the string-puller’s injury problems. Now 30, the once AC Milan, Fiorentina, Juventus, Liverpool and Roma journeyman could leave Italy for another crack at playing abroad.

Joey Barton
Football fans’ Marmite Barton has often polarized opinion during a career which has encompassed stints with Manchester City, Newcastle United and QPR plus an eyebrow-raising loan jaunt at Marseille. The once highly-rated midfield marshal may now have to step down a level to convince a club to take a chance on him at age 32, with Leeds United a mooted destination.

Who could forget Barton’s brilliant French accent?

Dimitar Berbatov
It’s hard to believe a forward of Berbatov’s undoubted quality is without a home, but surely many a side will be scrambling for the former Fulham, Manchester United, Monaco and Tottenham frontman.

Premier League newcomers Bournemouth (5/4 with Coral to be relegated) are said to be circling for the mercurial Bulgarian marksman, now 34, and could snaffle a proven game-changer without spending a penny, as Berbatov’s brilliance, which relies on technique, movement and intelligence has not aged.

Can classy Berbatov bring this fine finishing back to England? Watch him put five past Blackburn Rovers:

Esteban Cambiasso
Ex-Argentina and Inter Milan veteran Cambiasso looks to be weighing up his options after a superb Premier League debut season with Leicester City. The cult hero still has what it takes to man the engine room for a top tier team and is even 7/1 to take on the vacant Foxes coaching role.

Didier Drogba
A Chelsea and Ivory Coast icon, once powerful Drogba’s powers have faded, but the formiddable frontman, 37, still has a few tricks up his sleeve and could take his talents to the MLS. Stamford Bridge won’t be the same without him. Again.

Arsenal certainly won’t miss dangerous Drogba, view his goals against the Gunners:

Jussi Jaaskelainen
Finnish custodian Jaaskelainen, now 40, may not have played for the same elite clubs as most on this list but, as both the longest serving foreign player and oldest goalie to start a game in Premier League history, the former Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United stopper servant deserves a mention.

Sulley Muntari
Yes, it’s Muntari again. The midfield battle-axe could be back in the Premier League amid apparent interest from Everton.

At 30, much-maligned Muntari has won the lot in Italy, and the decorated star boasts a CV containing both Inter and AC Milan, with the latter recently mutually agreeing to terminate his contract.

Could this man be heading to a league near you?

David Pizarro
Another freebie last at Fiorentina, potential Bosman bargain Pizarro has also represented Inter Milan, Man City and Roma, picking up six major titles from those stints, including a Premier League. At 35, the midfielder still has a little left in the tank, as shown by his continued involvement with Chile at the 2015 Copa America.

Unattached ex-Real Madrid attacker Robinho became infamous in England after almost signing for Chelsea, with shirts being released with his name on the back, before penning a deal with Man City, where the forward struggled to settle.

Last back at boyhood club Santos, the Brazilian once tipped to be a world beater could now join compatriot Paulinho at Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande.

Still, the skilful forward did once light up the Premier League with his tricks and flicks:

Ultimate Samba Boy Ronaldinho Gaucho is back on the market once again at 35 after departing Mexican club Queretaro, and could return to Europe to link-up with fellow Barcelona old boy Samuel Eto’o in Turkey.

One of the most gifted players of his generation, Ronaldinho famously peaked at Barca and failed to recapture his form at AC Milan and PSG, though the Brazilian legend still has spades of skill in his locker.

Does Ronaldinho still have what it takes?



Holly Thackeray

Holly is a member of the content team, and can often be found on the sports desk writing about favourite topics Serie A and East Asian footballing nations. A recent darts convert, she is also a fully-fledged member of Barney's Army and a proud Leeds-born Manchester United fan.