Times have changed and the billions in football have dried up, at least that’s what we’ve been told. Clubs do not have the luxury to splash out cash for top transfer targets anymore and this has skyrocketed free agents to gold standards.
As the link between defence and attack, midfielders are extremely important to the success of any team. Here are the best midfield free agents and midfielders out of contract in 2021.
Best Free Agents and Out Of Contract Midfielders in 2021
9. Javi Martinez – Defensive Midfielder
With just nine appearances made in the past two seasons, Javi Martinez’s only call to fame and selling point might appear to be — having Bayern Munich on his CV.
However at 32,,the Spanish international might still have some juice left to spew. Martinez has never played in a second tier side as his career is split between times at Athletic Bilbao (La Liga) and the might Bayern.
He is also no fringe player, as in three of his nine seasons at the Bavarians, the club dropped more points in his absence.
8. Younes Belhanda – Attacking Midfielder
Galatasary showed their intolerance for recalcitrance when they terminated the contract of Turkish international, Belhanda, in March 2021. The player had made brazen comments against the Cimbom hierarchy and was subsequently punished as a repercussion.
However, it is a consensus that had his contract not been due to run out later this year, the club wouldn’t have gone ahead with the drastic move. Even the club manager, Faith Terim, was outspoken about the sudden termination, condemning the high-handedness.
The Moroccan had been involved in 48 goals in his four seasons at Istanbul, with over half of those being assists. Belhanda is currently a free agent.
7. Juan Mata – Attacking Midfielder
One of the more underrated premier league players in recent years is Spanish midfielder, Juan Mata. With slick feet and smooth technique that see him easily breeze past even the best defenders, Mata was unplayable in his A-days.
But no one can tell if those days are past as the midfielder has been starved of gametime this season, restricting him to just four league starts. Yet only four Manchester United players have supplied more assists than the 32-year-old.
He is also a renowned deadball specialist, who is capable of swinging a tie without exerting himself in games. Of all midfield free agents available, Juan Mata has the most Premier League experience.
6. John Lundstram – Central Midfielder
One inevitable certainty this season, is the relegation of South Yorkshire-based side, Sheffield United from the Premier League. But one player who is guaranteed not to go down with the club is midfield enforcer, John Lundstram.
Playing on the right hand side of midfield, Lundstram is deft with both feet. He was pivotal in Sheffield’s 2020 impressive run that had them finish in the top 10 in their first season. He scored 5 and supplied another 3 for his teammates. He ranks sixth on our list of best midfield free agents.
5. Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Attacking Midfielder
There is a slim possibility that Mkhitaryan would leave Roma so soon after a blockbuster campaign that was preceded by nightmarish episodes in England.
However, his contract has still been allowed to run down, as a result, piquing the interests of some free agent hunters. The Armenian captain has been involved in over 16 goals this season, pushing Roma to challenge for the top four. At 32, he might not have much fuel left to be circumnavigating between clubs.
4. Luka Modric – Attacking Midfielder
No matter how old he might be, every club will be interested in the incumbent Fifa Men’s Best Player of the Year. Luka Modric might be 35, but older players like Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who look very unlikely to retire any time soon, will be inspiration to the Croatian.
He has maintained his high standards this season, featuring frequently in a team of ‘galacticos’ and youngsters. He would be a shrewd addition to any club, after all, he is the captain of a star-studded Croatian set-up, as well as their most-capped player.
3. Julian Draxler – Attacking Midfielder
Signed from Wolfsburg for a fee of about €40 million, Draxler has never quite picked steam for French giants, PSG. The 27-year-old has made just 16 starts in two years out of a possible 76.
He has however delivered some good numbers for the Parisians in the past, especially in the 18/19 campaign when he scored 3 and assisted a further 8 in 22 starts.
He has been linked to a return to his home nation of Germany in form of a move to Bayer Leverkusen. Draxler is the youngest midfielder on this list of free agents.
2. Hakan Calhanoglu – Attacking Midfielder
Technique, creativity, vision, and shooting are abilities associated with AC Milan midfielder, Hakan Calhanoglu. The player will turn out a steal for any club who completes any acquisition this season.
Despite holding his club to contractual ransom, Calhanoglu has been pivotal in their impressive season. He has directly contributed to at least 10 goals and assists in over 20 appearances. The deadball specialist has been ranked as one of the best midfielders in the Serie A and he backs it with incredible statistics.
Manchester United are the Premier League’s biggest admirers of the Turkish international, who is in the mould of Bruno Fernandes.
1. Georgino Wijnaldum – Central Midfielder
Currently the captain of the revered Dutch National team, Wijnaldum is one player that should be on every club’s radar, more importantly his own club. But that is not the case as by June, Wijnaldum will be the most valuable midfielder of the free agents category.
With only Andrew Robertson, accruing more minutes than the midfielder, Wijnaldum has been pivotal for the Reds in their UCL and title-winning run. He has the best passing rate of any Liverpool player this campaign, the fourth best in the league.
In addition, he has executed Jurgen Klopp’s preferred Genghen pressing very well well this season. Statistically, only nine players in the league have a better successful pressure application than him.
Liverpool’s policy of restricting players aged over 30 to smaller wages have seen them unable to meet Wijnaldum salary demand.