Written by Dan Anjos
As contracts approach an end and many players are free to decide where their future lies, I look into some well known and less well known players that the Premier League teams must be eyeing up.
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The first one that is a standout player in Zlatan Ibrahimović. He has announced he will not renew his contract with PSG after leaving as a ‘legend’. Scoring 133 and 49 assists in 156 games as well as winning everything domestically and very much placing PSG as a European powerhouse and clear Kings of the domestic league. So it was no surprise that the top Premier League teams were linked with him but it does seem that he will be joining Manchester United to reunite with his preferred coach in the form of Jose Mourinho. At the age of 34, he is not the youngest but his ability is there and he will offer a chance for Marcus Rashford to learn from one of the best strikers since 2000 as well he has that winning mentality winning every league where he has played senior, in total he has 12 league titles to his name. A lot of the Man United team has not won the league so with the combination of Mourinho and ‘Ibra’ could yet again throw them into the top team spot of England. With both of them being rivals of Pep Guardiola too, the Manchester derby can become as big as the el classico? It will definitely be a very awaited game that is for sure. The Premier League is the only major league missing for Ibra too, so it does seem to be a match close to being made in heaven.
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Another interesting free agent from Ligue 1 is Steve Mandanda. He is an experienced goalkeeper at 31 years of age with amazing reflexes and shot stopping. He is not renewing his contract with Marseille and has been hailed as one of the best keepers in Ligue 1 for years and years now. So where can I see this player? Well because there is a good quality of goalkeepers in the Premier League, he might have to settle as a back up ‘keeper if he wants to play for the top teams in the BPL. However if he is willing to play for more of a mid-table team he will potentially start. Two teams I can see him at are Swansea and Everton. Everton’s defence has been leaky and obviously you cannot simply blame the goalkeeper but Mandanda is an upgrade on Joel Robles in my eyes. For a similar reason I can imagine him doing well at Swansea as he will also without a doubt be an upgrade on quality to Fabianski. Time will tell if anyone signs Mandanda but a quality keeper like himself is surely desired in many places.
Another Ligue 1 player with his contract ending is Nkoulou from Marseille. This is a player that for some years now has been regarded one of the finer centre backs playing in Ligue 1. He has recently been linked with Liverpool but if he will end up there we do not know but I can definitely imagine him wanting to try the Premier League. He is 26 years old so at the peak of his game really. I can definitely see teams in the Premier League trying to sign this centre back, will he have the success that other Ligue 1 players did have it is hard to say but I do believe he will be a helping hand in whatever team he goes to either as a starting player or as 3rd choice centre back pushing the 2 main centre backs to play well or they know that there is a capable player that can fill in for them. From a managerial approach it is good to keep your squad competitive so this signing would definitely offer that no matter what team it is in the Premier league. Also with the very long and heavy schedule of the English calendar as well as the high intensity of the BPL it does mean managers need to rotate squads.
The final Ligue 1 player is Jeremy Pied. He is an established player for Nice, the team that finished 4th in this years Ligue 1 edition. He is a right back that can also play as wide midfielder and even winger. His pace and technical ability followed with defensive hard work is what makes him an interesting signing as he could be a solution for teams in the lower section of the BPL. His name is not a name that many fans will know but on a free and on the back of a good year it can be a risk worth doing. Age 27 he is at his peak too, what will happen to this player only the future holds. But he does seem like he could be a good signing even if it is to make a squad more competitive.
Over in the Serie A there is a player that can be a very good bargain and that player is Martin Caceres. This is a player that has played for Barcelona and Juventus and won 5 Serie A titles for Juventus as well as a Copa America for Uruguay. He is currently out injured with a ruptured Achilles and is expected to be fit again in early October. I think this might put off some potential buyers but I still see this player as a very good player for any team to have. Realistically he will want to join a team that has some sort of European football and fighting for titles, he is approaching his decline of footballing career at the age of 29 but he can still do a job for another 2 years minimum surely. He is mostly a centre back but can also play as a full back if needed. I would like to see Liverpool sign this player, having already signed Joel Matip, and with Lovren playing some better football last year, with the release of Kolo Toure and the likely departure of Skrtel, it would allow Liverpool to have a solid choice of 4 centre backs with Sakho too. Also due to his versatility it would give Klopp a more defensive stable choice as a full back as Moreno has been criticised lately for his lack of good defending. Obviously Caceres is not a perfect player and his is flaws are there but for a free agent I do think its a risk worth taking especially as Liverpool are now not attracting the top players around Europe, to get a player with so many experiences at tops clubs such as Barcelona and Juventus I think is an opportunity that they have to take. I am aware that Liverpool don’t have European football next year but it is still a club that has some financial power backed with history. Finally I do believe Klopp is capable of attracting players because of who he is so it does still make Liverpool a good proposition in the transfer market.
Fk Partizan are a team known for producing quality young players and one full of potential is definitely Andrija Zivkovic. He is a 19 year old winger with an eye for goal. A fantastic talent that has a lot of mainland European clubs after him including the likes of Benfica, Atletico Madrid just to name a few. He has been very strongly rumoured with Benfica but nothing official has came out so he is still a free agent. His record in the Europa league in 5 games is 4 goals and 2 assists which speaks for itself. But even his league record last year is good of 15 games with 7 goals and 3 assists. This is a player with good 1 on 1 ability, pace and an eye for goal. All in all he seems like a very modern winger and would he succeed in the BPL is another question but he could be a wildcard signing for a lot of the teams. He like many youngsters does need time to develop, but he is also already capped and is considered to be one of the most promising youngsters in Europe, time will tell if he meets the potential but surely until Benfica announce it, clubs must be ringing his agent doing the most to see if they can bring him to England instead.
Where does your team need to strengthen? Would any of these players fit the bill? Let us know in the comments below!
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