6 Bundesliga stars available for nothing this summer
English top-flight sides can rarely be described as hard-up, but that's not to say they aren't hunting for bargains this summer.
Here are six top freebies from the Bundesliga who could offer some value...
Mitchell Weiser (21, Bayern Munich)
Weiser was relatively unheard of before this season, even to Bundesliga fans, but the winger has certainly made a name for himself under Pep Guardiola. Aided by injuries to stars Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, he took his opportunity to impress in the latter half of Bayern’s title-winning campaign.
Weiser scored his first Bundesliga goal in February, before beating three men to set up Bastian Schweinsteiger for the goal that secured the title against Hertha BSC in April. The youngster, who has appeared for a number of Germany’s youth sides, possesses both pace and technical ability and at the tender age of 21, definitely has his best years ahead of him.
Linked with: Both Stoke and Everton are reportedly interested in the youngster.
Rafael van der Vaart (32, Hamburg)
With almost 200 appearances for the club, Van der Vaart is a living legend at Hamburg. But after captaining the Bundesliga’s longest-surviving team to safety via the relegation play-offs again last season, the attacking midfielder has been left out in the cold.
The Dutchman’s abilities are well known to Premier League fans following a two-year stint at Spurs. But despite his quality, he has failed to make a name for himself on the big stage over the course of his career. Injuries have played a part at times but his vision and ability over a dead ball could make the 32-year-old a risk worth taking.
Linked with: Stoke in January, but promoted Betis are confident that they've landed the Dutchman.
Sidney Sam (27, Schalke)
The former Germany international was ousted from Schalke in bizarre fashion this season. The winger, who only made 11 appearances for Die Königsblauen due to injury, and team-mate Kevin-Prince Boateng were both suspended indefinitely by the club in May after a string of disappointing results.
Sam’s explosive pace and technical ability on the ball led some to previously compare him with Robben. Mainly deployed on the right wing, he likes to run at defenders and cut inside onto his favoured left foot, which has produced some magical strikes in the past.
If he can rekindle his past form, which helped him appear in the Champions League and earn his first Germany cap in May 2014, then the 27-year-old could definitely raise a few eyebrows in the Premier League next season.
Linked with: Hannover are keen, with sporting director Dirk Dufner saying: "If we manage a solution, we get a player with great potential."
Marcell Jansen (29, Hamburg)
With Germany unable to produce a world class left-back since Andy Brehme, Jansen had the opportunity to make it on the world stage. However, despite a big-money move to Bayern Munich in 2007, he has never really lived up to his potential.
He was only able to make 17 appearances in the 2014/15 campaign, a season hampered by injury. But the 29-year-old has a decent left foot and experience under his belt, with 45 caps for the world champions. He wouldn’t walk into any side but Jansen could fit in at a handful of lower Premier League clubs.
Linked with: No rumours so far.
Tranquillo Barnetta (30, Schalke)
Barnetta didn’t really do his chances of being handed a new contract any good after tweeting ‘3 changes and no Quillo. Go Gladbach!’ during Schalke’s 4-1 defeat back in September. But it didn’t seem to bother him after he revealed: "We stopped meeting for contract negotiations because of the unrest at the club and so I finally decided to leave."
Despite only three goals last season, he was one of few players to look dangerous going forward under Roberto Di Matteo. His creativity and ability to beat players down either wing makes him one to consider.
Linked with: Barnetta has said he would welcome an offer from "traditional clubs" Liverpool or Tottenham, as well as Serie A side Fiorentina.
Claudio Pizarro (36, Bayern Munich)
The Peruvian frontman is no stranger to the English game after an unsuccessful spell at Chelsea, but Pizarro has proven his ability to find the back of the net after 125 goals in a Bayern shirt.
However, with Polish dynamo Robert Lewandowski clear first choice and no goals in over 300 minutes of football last season, it looks unlikely that Pizarro will be handed a new deal with the German champions.
Some may be put off by his age, but the 'Anden-Bomber' has an incredibly deft touch and a wealth of experience which would make him a useful pick-up for a year.
Linked with: Claudio recently told the Bundesliga's official site: "Of course [Werder] Bremen's always an option, I've played there before. I'm in no rush, though."