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Mihai

20 Free Agents You Must Sign

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20. Charles N'Zogbia
Age: 30
Position: AM/M RLC
N'Zogbia may be a little notorious for his poor work ethic and delusions of grandeur, but his versatility and some pretty solid (if unspectacular) stats make him a strong addition to lower level Premier League teams and below. He might even shock you how well he does.
Potential Value: £1.6m
Incredibly, the Frenchman won't cost you a lot in wages (how relegation changes a man), but after he is capable of impressive ratings even at his age. After a season, he was at 7.4, having chalked up 4 assists in 21 games, so there's definitely some value there.

19. Evander Sno
Age: 29
Position: MC/DMC
Having broken through at Celtic what seems like decades ago, Dutchman Sno has very much trodden the journeyman path. He left for Ajax, had a loan spell at Bristol City and then spent a year at five separate clubs before ADO Den Haag released him.
He does have reasonable stats at the start of the game though - particularly for pure central midfield roles - and he's definitely worth a contract for a lower Premier League side.
Potential Value: £250k
Like N'Zogbia, he'll chip in with assists and though he hasn't played a lot in real life recently, he does manage to stick through an entire season, coming in with a 6.5 rating overall. Hardly spectacular, but for a newly promoted team he will absolutely do a job.

18. Dimitar Berbatov
Age: 35
Position: ST
Despite his age, Bulgarian hitman Berbatov hasn't lost a great deal of what made him a great player in the first place: he was never fast nor particularly mobile and while his legs may have lost something, his brain won't. He starts the game with a 20 First Touch, finishing of 16 and Technique of 18. You can't usually buy that sort of class, and he's free!
Potential Value: £50k
There's a very good chance that Berbatov will end up back in the Premier League if you don't sign him (or so has happened in several sims already). And while he's best considered a squad player when he goes elsewhere, he's more than capable of doing a job as a starter, particularly if you pair him with a younger, speedier striker to play off him.
A range of 6.5-6.8 isn't bad at all for a 36-year-old. And you never know, he might be good for the dressing room too.

17. Michael Essien
Age: 33
Position: DMC/MC
Though his career mostly went off the rails in the last few years at Chelsea, Michael Essien still has proper footballing pedigree. He's a Champions League player, and while his stats are no longer at that level, you won't see much below a 14 for his key attributes and he can still play some games for you in the lower reaches of the Premier League.
Potential Value: £10k
Surprisingly, Essien doesn't cost a great deal in wages, and he's the kind of one year contract Championship sides looking for promotion should jump straight on. He'll manage a 6.5 to 6.9 average rating when called upon and he's a good option to cover defensive midfield when you're playing a lot of games. Not for long-term, but useful all the same.

16. Zakaria Labyad
Age: 23
Position: AMLC
He might have been deemed only good enough to play twice for Fulham while on loan last year, but Labyad is something of a gem for upwardly mobile Championship squads. He has some pedigree for a young man having played for PSV, Sporting and Vitesse previously, and he has a solid spread of ratings at the start of the game between 12 and 15.
Potential Value: £3.3m
Sign him up. He's young, he'll more than do a job for you if you're mid-table Premier League and down and he's easily capable of a 7.25 in his first season, with valuable assists and goals from midfield.
A word of warning though, he is weirdly prone to injuries in the simmed games I've run in the Beta.

15. Leon Osman
Age: 35
Position: DMC/MC/AMC
Having spent his entire career (bar loans at Carlisle and Derby) at Everton, this summer must feel like a whole new frightening world for Leon Osman. He does not have the legs to play 38 games a season in a team aspiring to qualify for Europe (hence his contract at Everton ending), but he's still more than capable of chipping in and has good stats for a veteran.
Just make sure if you're signing him that you've got more energetic, fitter players around him: he can play an anchoring role, and he does seem to work if you try and get the ball to him a lot (without making him run too much), but asking him to play every game will just result in injury.
Potential Value: £11k
A spread of 6.6-7.1 seems to be where he'll come in for seasons of around 20 games even in the Premier League, but it really depends on how you use him as to how he performs. This is no spring chicken, but his experience is a good thing to use as long as you've got someone to do his leg work for him.
In the Championship, he's the kind of player to build a promotion season around.

14. Ronaldinho
Age: 36
Position: AMLRC
Yes, he's old, but he's Ronaldinho and he's still a magician. He's just not going to be as mobile or as energetic as he once was. But then, even a couple of years ago he still managed to hit 8 in 25, so he hasn't slowed down that far.
Potential Value: ??
Maybe it's just me, but as long as Ronaldinho is available to sign, he's an option and this might be the last game he's actually going to still be available to sign. Call me a romantic if you must, but he's a legend and there's no way he could be anything less than a positive influence on your entire squad.
Don't play him too much and you might still get flashes of brilliance out of him too: I mean, look at those stats, he's still the man.

13. Kagisho Dikgacoi
Age: 31
Position: DMC/MC
Having spent a good deal of his career in English football with Crystal Palace and Cardiff, Dikgacoi comes with bags of relevant experience for upper Championship sides looking to bolster their defensive options. Despite being let go by the Bluebirds, he's also got pretty good stats for a freebie, with 14s and 15s in Marking, Tackling, Heading and Positioning. What more do you want from a defensive player? Just make sure you put him in to protect your defence and you'll be laughing.
Potential Value: £50k
By no means a world-beater, the South African maintains his ratings even as he turns 32 and he's undoubtedly a smart addition t any Championship squad. He'll also work in a Premier League newcomer squad, if you can convince him not to go abroad to a top level side in Scandinavia.
And used sparingly, he's capable of 7+ ratings.

12. Olcan Adin
Age: 30
Position: DL/M/AMRL
Versatility usually isn't cheap in Football Manager, but sometimes it can come for free.
Adin is a Turkish international who can play all up the left, as well as in midfield on the other flank too. He also has some pedigree - particularly in the Turkish league, where he has played for Fenerbahce and Galatasaray. He doesn't start with the most impressive stats, but he's a good squad addition and he's reliable, more than anything else.
Potential Value: £85k
Adin is by no means a spectacular player, but he is a solid performer over full seasons, bagging a spread between 6.5 and 6.75, scoring a couple, assisting a couple more. He's either a dependable substitute in top leagues or a regular starter in the Championship and while he won't score a lot, he's the very definition of a squad player.
He'll also slot in at left-back very nicely if you're looking to bring in a wonderkid to develop towards your first team in that position.

11. Modibo Diakite
Age: 29
Position: DC
Nobody in Sunderland will have too many fond memories of Malian centre-half Diakite (if any memories at all), but the journeyman defender is a good option as a free in Football Manager. He boasts 14s and 15s for the key central defensive requirements, he won't cost a lot in wages and he's only 29, so you might even get sell on value.
Potential Value: £1.6m
But more importantly, he actually plays well too. He might not be a starter for every game, but he's capable of an average of 7 or above, he'll make between 3.6 and 4.1 tackles per game and he's a very valuable squad player. Unfortunately there's a caveat - he's mental and will get sent off a lot, but that may just be a Beta quirk.
Definitely one to consider even for Premier League sides looking for depth.

10. Vladimir Gabulov
Age: 32
Position: Goalkeeper
Russian Gabulov has always been something of a bridesmaid in his career: the 32-year-old has rarely been a number 1, he's rarely played the majority of his club's sides in any season and he's not the kind of name you'd remember particularly after he retires. But he is a great option for anyone looking for an experienced keeper as back-up (or even as a starter in the Championship).
Potential Value: £1.4m
He usually goes to pretty top level sides (like St Etienne) as a back-up and if his stats are anything to go by, he's a solid back-up, playing rarely but well when called upon. That's invaluable dependency when you're blooding a younger 'keeper as your first choice (particularly if your strategy is to bring in the back-up for cup games).

9. Emmanuel Adebayor
Age: 32
Position: ST
Adebayor is something of a whipping boy these days: for some fans, he represents everything that's wrong with modern footballers - and particularly greed. But he is worth bringing in as a squad player even as a Premier League side. He has bags of experience after all and his stats aren't at all bad.
Potential Value: £110k
Again, he's not going to start a lot of games in the Premier League, but he will score a few when called upon (at a rate of about 30% games to goals ratio) and will rate pretty well on average. In the Championship, he'll score more, but whether you'd get him through a full season of regular starts remains to be seen.
Remarkably, he's also not all that expensive, despite his well-publicised fondness for bigger wage packets. Premier League sides will get him for less than £40k.

8. Fausto Rossi
Age: 25
Position: DMC/MC/AMC
Though once classed as one of the rising stars to watch of Juventus' youth sides, Fausto Rossi has lost his way somewhat in the past few years, heading out on multiple loans before ending up at Pro Vercelli last year. He's never been prolific (but then that's not really his game), and he starts the game with a good spread of scores between 12 and 15.
He's also one of the most saleable assets from the Free Transfers market too...
Potential Value: £4m
Definitely one to invest in if you're taking over a Championship club - or even a Premier League newcomer. He'll get you between 6.7 and 7 if the sims are anything to go by, chipping in with a good few assists in the process. And his value means you can probably make a tidy profit on him too.

7. Yohan Tavares
Age: 28
Position: DC
Yohan Tavares might not be one of the most recognisable names on this list, and he hasn't played for too many particularly famous clubs, despite a very brief time at Standard Liege, but he's the definition of a solid defensive reinforcement.
With 13s and 14s for the four key central defensive capabilities, he'd also slot straight into most Championship sides, and could provide welcome back-up in the lower half of the Premier League. He's dependable and free, and your money is better spent elsewhere.
Potential Value: £4.5m
While his stats don't appear to be all that great, Tavares is a performer: over a 32 game (and more) season, he's a 7.2 and above player more often than not. And that's a number everyone should be excited about from a free player who is still young.
Tavares is another of the more upwardly mobile valuable assets available in the Free Transfer market. A potential sell-on price of £4.5m is nothing to be sniffed at if you're a Championship or lower Premier League side either.

6. Antonio Di Natale
Age: 38
Position: ST
The former Udinese man was a goal machine in the Italian league for a long time, scoring almost 1 in 2 for the side he left this summer. And while investing anything in a 38-year-old might seem like a poor idea in the long-term, Di Natale is not that type of option, but he will have some immediate impact if you chance signing him.
Potential Value: £50k
There's absolutely no chance you'll get any onward value from the Italian, but if you're taking over a newly promoted Premier League side, Di Natale will actually score you some precious goals. In every sim I ran, he scored 1 in 2 or more, despite being as old as time, and pulled in ratings between 6.6 and 6.9.
Don't expect to play him a lot and he will reward you, particularly if you set up your team to be more mobile around him as a focal point. His instincts, it seems, don't dull very quickly.

5. Simao
Age: 28
Position: DMC/MC
A current Mzambique international, Simao has played notably for Panathinaikos and Levante, leaving the Spaniards in the summer after 3 full seasons as a first team starter.
He's also a very good addition for most teams from the top 8 of the Premier League down, with solid stats of 15 for most of the technical requirments to play defensive midfield and some key 17s and 18s. For free, he's an absolute steal.
Potential Value: £1.6m
You should go and sign him immediately at least as a squad player: his stats are solid, he'll play upwards of 20 games for you and he's more than capable of hitting above 7 on average. He's by no means a top drawer player, but you'll struggle to find anyone cheap who will play as well or be as reliable.

4. Sulley Muntari
Age: 31
Position: DMC/MC
That's a proper football name. Muntari has been around for a long time, playing for teams as auspicious and illustrious as Inter Milan, AC Milan, Udinese and... erm... Portsmouth and Sunderland. He might have made an ill-conceived serve to al-Ittihad a year ago but money talks, so you can sort of forgive it.
He starts the game on impressive ratings, particularly for a defensive midfielder with 15s and 16s all over the place and he's a strong squad addition all round.
Potential Value: £75k
He'll easily slot into your first team picture (even if it's more often on the bench than the pitch), improving our overall defensive capabilities as a unit and earning a solid 6.75 to 7 average rating when called upon.

3. Philippe Mexes
Age: 34
Position: DC
Despite his age, former Roma and Milan legend Mexes is still a Premier League quality player. He has the highest level pedigree, his stats are still very good (15s for Marking, Tackling, Positioning and Heading) and he will do a job for mid-table upwards in the Premier League.
He'll only cost around £35k in wages, which is not bad at all for a player of his quality and you should definitely consider him.
Potential Value: £77k
Mexes might not play a lot of games for you, but he will perform when he's asked to, managing 6.75-7 average ratings, chipping in with a couple of goals (from corners) and leading on the pitch. If you can convince him to sign for a Championship club, he's even better.

2. Martin Caceres
Age: 29
Position: Centre-Back
The commanding centre-half has been a free agent since leaving Juventus last year, and while he starts the game injured, he's a good candidate to sign for the second half of your maiden season. Just be wary that he will cost a lot in wages given where he's played in the past.
Potential Value: £2.5m
After a season (in which he played 10 games) for Al-Jazira (again, he likes a big contract), Caceres managed an overall rating of 6.8, which is nothing to be sniffed at. He'd certainly be great cover for mid-Premier League teams with aspirations of greatness, and at just 29 he does have a good couple of years ahead of him.

1. Felipe Santana
Age: 30
Position: DC
Brazilian centre-halves have never been the most gloriously heralded in world football, but occasionally a gem comes along for little money and you'd be mad not to snap them up.
Felipe Santana has played for Dortmund and Schalke and while he's lost his way somewhat in the past couple of years his stats are reflective of a player with teams like that on his CV. He scores a 15 in lots of key defensive attributes, he's quick, his capable and he's a monster in the air.
Potential Value: £850k
Despite the comparatively low value, Santana will become a very strong player for you: his ratings come in above 7.20 over more than 30 games, he scores goals (thanks to his leap) and he'll also assist a couple. He's a very complete player for a freebie, basically and he will improve your squad at most levels

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