With the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea splashing out millions on a variety of donkeys, which players have transformed into thoroughbreds for no cost at all? Here’s our list of some truly outstanding talent that was (salaries to one side) free of charge!
Leading the way in the bargain basement was always going to be Demba Ba. The former Hoffenheim man kept West Ham’s faint hopes of survival alive last season before they were eventually put out of their misery, and alerted a host of top flight clubs after stating his intention to stay in the Premiership.
But it was Newcastle and in particular Alan Pardew who stuck their neck on the line and nabbed the Senegalese star, and so began the dawn of a new era at the club, with Alan Pardew vindicated in just about every decision he’s made since. Ba has scored 16 league goals this season and, with compatriot Papiss Cisse, forms part of one of the most potent attacks in the league.
Older than the game itself, Brad Friedel still manages to defy nature and play like a 20 year old between the sticks. This season it’s Tottenham who have benefited from the American’s services, after he not only displaced professional clown Heurelho Gomes, but contributed much to a season in which Spurs have kicked on and even experienced a title charge for a fortnight. It’s anybodies guess as to how long the giant of a man can keep going, but he’s sure to stick around for a while yet.
After experiencing a roller coaster season for Birmingham in which he tasted the sweet glory of cup success and the bitter sorrow of relegation, Larsson looked for stability in a move to Sunderland. During a tortuous start to the season under Steve Bruce, Larsson provided the Wearsiders with their only real threat, scoring a string of sublime free kicks and assisting a host of goals.
His star has dwindles slightly as James McLean and Stephane Sessegnon have roared to the forefront, but still provides a vital balance to Martin O’Neill’s impressive midfield.
Just had to include this Foreign freebie. Pirlo was almost written off after Milan decided not to renew his contract at the end of last season, but title rivals Juventus have benefited from their gift as Piro has stormed back to his former sumptuous glory. Has scored two goals and laid on plenty for his teammates, as the Old Lady looks to rise from the dead to rule Italy once more.
This man is incredible. After being dumped by penniless Birmingham due to his astronomical wage packet (possibly in the region of 10,000 a week,) Phillips moved to Blackpool to destroy the Championship once more. Has scored where ever he’s been and his stint on the seaside is no exception, after netting 17 goals almost entirely from the bench. Will be a vital figure if Ian Holloway’s side are to make it back to the promised land.
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