Free transfers in football take place when the transfer of a player between two clubs happens without any fees. This usually happens when a player runs out of his current contract or when the player and the parent club both mutually decide to terminate the player’s contract, thus allowing him to move to any other club as a free agent. Such transfers are beneficial for clubs that cannot afford big-money signings, in this article we look at the top 5 free transfers in football.
#5 Zlatan Ibrahimovic:
After breaking numerous records in the Ligue 1 playing for PSG. One of the finest strikers in World Football, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was also signed on a free transfer by Manchester United in 2016. He contributed close to 40 Goals for the club during his time at United and was an integral part of the Red Devils squad that went on to clinch the UEFA Europa League title in 2016/17.
Unfortunately, a knee injury in the following season kept him out of the sport for quite a long time before he moved to LA Galaxy in 2016.
#4 Paul Pogba
During the last year of Paul Pogba’s Manchester United contract, differences developed between the then Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, and Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola which resulted in Pogba joining Juventus on a free transfer in 2012. Pogba had a successful stint at Juventus, where he won 4 League titles and the Serie A Player of the Year Award in 2014.
He also won the Golden Boy Award in 2013. His exceptional performances made United buy him back for a record-breaking €105 million. Although the World Cup winner has been criticized a lot for his consistency at United, he remains to be a key player in the plans of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
#3 Andrea Pirlo
Signing a player of Pirlo’s quality for free is quite baffling. Pirlo had been underperforming for Milan in his last few seasons at the club. The Milan management decided not to offer the world cup winner a new contract with the same old hefty wages, which saw him joining arch-rivals Juventus on a free transfer in 2011.
He spent four seasons at Bianconeri and became one of their biggest protagonists, helping the Turin-based club win 4 Scudettos, 1 Coppa Italia, 2 SuperCoppa Italiana, and also winning the Italian player of the year 3 times. Pirlo also returned to the club as a manager last season, but things did not go his way, which led to him being sacked after just one season.
#2 Robert Lewandowski
Widely recognized as one of the best strikers of this generation, the Polish International signed a 5-year deal with the Bavarians in 2014. He had offers from other big European clubs like Real Madrid, Manchester United, and PSG as well, but he surprised the fans by preferring direct rivals Bayern Munich over other clubs.
Since then, he has netted 297 goals for the club and has won 1 UEFA Champions League title and 7 Bundesliga titles with Bayern. Last season, the Polish striker broke Gerd Muller’s five-decade-long record of the most goals in a single Bundesliga season by scoring 41 goals.
#1 Lionel Messi
In a shocking transfer that happened a couple of weeks ago, we saw Lionel Messi, the ex-Barcelona forward and one of the greatest players of all time, move to PSG. The Catalonian club, till the end of July, was fully convinced that Messi would stay and Messi even agreed to a 50% wage reduction in his new contract, but the deal collapsed at the last moment since the Spanish league’s rules and regulations on player’s registration couldn’t be followed.
The Argentine talisman has now signed a 2-year deal with the French club worth €35m/year as reported by multiple sources, as he tops this list of the top 5 free transfers in football.