8 Premier League-quality players who’ll be available for absolutely nothing this summer
5. Bacary Sagna (Man City)
Pep Guardiola may not have been able to teach an old dog new tricks, but Sagna is one of the most committed and reliable right-backs the Premier League has seen.
Even if playing in central midfield was a step too far, the Frenchman is excellent on the ball and composed under pressure. He’s still in good physical condition too, and wins more than his fair share of headers for a full-back.
Though now in the twilight of his career aged 33, Sagna still has plenty to offer and only need look to his compatriot Patrice Evra for proof of what’s possible at this stage. The former Arsenal defender would be a sensible addition for almost any top-flight club, bringing calm, experience and a competitive edge that’s helped him thrive in England for almost a decade.
6. Cheikh Ndoye (Angers)
They may have finished ninth in Ligue 1 last season, but if Angers are to have any chance of surviving this time around they’ll need their influential captain on top form again.
Ndoye is known for his strength and power in midfield, as well as his knack for scoring crucial goals. Shaking hands with him may feel like being involved in a traffic accident, then, but the 30-year-old’s technical ability leaves a lot to be desired – he’s completed just 67% of his passes this season.
With les Scoïstes already looking likely to face the drop, it’s likely that Ndoye will reject a contract renewal with hopes of securing one last high-profile move. He may not be accomplished enough for Europe’s elite – West Brom have been linked previously, though Greek side PAOK have made an offer – but his presence on the pitch could benefit those battling the drop.
7. Glen Johnson (Stoke)
For somebody with nearly 350 Premier League appearances under their belt, the criticism aimed at Johnson has been unfair. The 32-year-old is still a regular for Stoke under Mark Hughes, and has featured as both a right-back and a right-wing-back depending on the tactical set-up used.
He’s still quick across ground and has become a much wilier defender in his later years, to the point where the former Chelsea man earned himself an England recall in October (before having to withdraw through injury).
Johnson may not be the swashbuckling, forward-thinking full-back he was five years ago, but his versatility across the defence would make him a useful addition for a lower Premier League side. Stoke have the option to extend his contract, but West Ham are eyeing a raid for their former player according to reports.
8. Gonzalo Rodriguez (Fiorentina)
“In the past few months I haven’t received a call from Fiorentina,” claimed José Raul Iglesias, the agent of Gonzalo Rodriguez, who will be without a club come the summer. The 32-year-old Viola captain has been (and still is) a crucial member of Paulo Sousa’s side, but it’s likely that the centre-back will be playing his football away from the Stadio Artemio Franchi next season should the stand-off remain.
Many clubs across Europe have already expressed an interest in the experienced stopper, whose elegant approach to tackling and impressive eye for a pass make him one of the best defenders in Italy.
Having suffered two long-term injuries during his career, Rodriguez could still play at the top level for another two or three years and would offer fine experience to any dressing room.