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The 11 best Football Manager 2018 free agents

Xabi Irureta

Age: 31
Can play: GK
Wage demands: Low

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Need to know: Long-serving Eibar keeper who spent almost a decade with the Armeros, rising with them to La Liga from the third tier before leaving last season to join Zaragoza. His performances there weren’t convincing, though, and he was eventually released. Only 37 out of his 224 senior appearances have been in the Spanish top flight – but those playing stats are appealing. 

Benoit Tremoulinas

Age: 31
Can play: DL, WBL, ML
Wage demands: High

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Need to know: Two-time Europa League winner with Sevilla who had previously spent a decade with Bordeaux, where he won all domestic silverware available: Ligue 1, French Cup, League Cup and Super Cup. A solid all-rounder with impressive crossing skills.

Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro

Age: 24
Can play: DR, WBR, MR, DL, DM, MC
Wage demands: Average

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Need to know: Versatile, pacey full-back who can play on either side, as well as in central midfield. The defensive-minded former Ivory Coast international – and Africa Cup of Nations winner in 2015 – is a Toulouse product who played 121 league matches for the Ligue 1 side over the past five seasons.

Abdelhamid El Kaoutari

Age: 27
Can play: DC, DL
Wage demands: Average

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Need to know: French-born Moroccan who won Ligue 1 in 2012 with Montpellier – his hometown club, where he spent the first nine years of his playing career. Delivered questionable performances at Palermo after being signed in 2015, and was loaned out twice before being released this summer. Still, he's got what you're looking for in a centre-back. 

Jan Kirchhoff

Age: 26
Can play: DC, DM, MC
Wage demands: High

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Need to know: Former Germany youth international who had been impressing with Sunderland in 2015/16 before serious injury struck. The towering anchorman picked up two Bundesliga titles and German Cups during his days at Bayern Munich between 2013 and 2016. 

Lukman Haruna

Age: 26
Can play: DM, MC, AMC
Wage demands: Low

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Need to know: Gifted box-to-box midfielder whose European adventure begun at Monaco in 2007. The former Nigeria international had been signed by Dynamo Kiev in 2011 and then continued moving eastward with Goverla, Anzhi Makhachkala and Astana. Haruna is strong on the ball and can pose a real threat for opposition defences even from outside the area.

Daniel Ndi

Age: 21
Can play: MC, AMC, AMLR
Wage demands: Low

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Need to know: Young Cameroonian left-footed attacking midfielder who has managed five senior caps for his country so far. The Sporting Gijon-nurtured talent who played 21 La Liga games seems to have the required skill set to play on the flanks.

Patrick Ebert

Age: 30
Can play: AMRL
Wage demands: Average

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Need to know: European U21 champion who left his home country after spending a decade at Hertha Berlin to test himself in La Liga at Valladolid. After a season-and-a-half, the East German winger had a short stint Russia at Spartak Moscow, only to return to Spain 16 months later – this time at Rayo Vallecano, where he scored five goals in 27 appearances last season.

Ukra

Age: 30
Can play: AMRL
Wage demands: Low

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Need to know: Capable inside-forward who was loaned out to various Portuguese clubs from Porto before making a permanent move to Rio Ave, where he played in the group stages of the Europa League in 2014. The former Portugal youth international has also been capped once by Fernando Santos in 2015, and played 45 minutes for his country at senior level.

Davit Targamadze

Age: 27
Can play: AMRL
Wage demands: Low

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Need to know: Georgia international who was picked up by Freiburg at the age of 18. The pacey winger was given barely any playing time, though, and things got worse when the club won the 2. Bundesliga in 2010. Afterwards, he signed for four clubs in Ukraine – Shakhtar Donetsk among them – but failed to impress each time. Are you the manager to get something out of his talents? 

Welliton

Age: 30
Can play: ST
Wage demands: High

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Need to know: Three-time Russian Premier League runner-up who Spartak Moscow paid £4.1 million for in 2007. The Brazilian forward felt homesick, though, and was loaned back to his home country after scoring 57 goals for the Russian outfit between 2007 and 2013. After trying his luck in Spain and Turkey, he is now seeking a contract after scoring 12 goals in 28 games last season for Kayserispor.

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