‘Tis the season to show love and compassion. When you’re jolly on wine and turkey, it’s east to forget those less fortunate. Christmas this year will be toughest on players without a club. They’ll spend the festive period waiting for the phone to ring. “Hello, is this Jose?!!” Football clubs up and down the country have an obligation: to give a club-less player a second chance. The upside is that unlike puppies, signing a free agent isn’t for life. They can also be signed at any time! Which players are currently seeking a fresh start? Today, we look at the free agents desperately looking for a new home this Christmas.
Who will follow Madrid, Spurs, Arsenal, Man City, Monaco on Adebayor’s C.V? At only 32, the man who famously saluted Tim Sherwood at White Harte Lane, has been without a club since the summer. It didn’t really work out at Crystal Palace. Adebayor always seems to raise his game when nearing the end of a contract. Perhaps a monthly rolling contract would work? The Togolese international will surely find a club this January.
Villa fans, look away. The player who tweeted a picture of a flashy sports car after a crushing defeat last season, is looking for a club. His excuse for the tweet? It was apparently sent from his pocket while he was driving. Phones have moved on from simple ‘pocket dials’. Worrying phone technology developments aside, Lescott was recently released by AEK Athens just 3 months in to a two-year contract. Another move abroad might be on the cards, as his form in Villa’s perfectly disastrous season is all too recent.
7 caps for England. Where did it go wrong for Carlton Cole? After a youth career with Chelsea, Cole would go on to spend 9 years at Upton Park. The West Ham faithful always seemed to have mixed feelings when it came to Cole. His goal to game ratio was less than 1 in 4, which didn’t endear him to the fans. Yet, he was consistent and could bring other players in to games. These qualities led to seven substitute appearances for England back in 2009-2010. Cole last kitted out for Sacramento Republic in America’s third tier, but is currently looking for a new club at the age of 33.
In the summer transfer window of 2007, Aston Villa spent £8.5 million on Reo-Coker. He was destined to become a future England international. Unfortunately, things haven’t quite worked out since. Perhaps there is a curse at Villa Park? Just look what happened to Marlon Harewood?! After 4 years in Birmingham, Reo-Coker embarked on a nomad existence. This would include spells with Bolton, Ipswich, and three sides in North America. Released by Montreal Impact in January of this year, Reo-Coker, at just 32, could still do a job for a club in England.
The Irish international’s career has been severely impacted by injuries. After spending five years with West Ham, he was released in the summer. O’Brien will only turn 31 this February so should have a few years left in the tank. Premier League experience and five international caps should give O’Brien a few clubs to choose from in January. The only stumbling block could be his lack of game time. O’Brien hasn’t made 20 appearances in a campaign since the 2013-2014 season. If he were to secure a move and start playing regularly, a call-up to the Irish squad wouldn’t be out of the question.
OTHER PLAYERS THAT NEED RESCUING
Kevin Nolan, the former captain of Bolton and West Ham needs a new club. This could coincide with the return of ‘Big Sam’ to management. Nolan was last seen at Leyton Orient, where his player-manager role didn’t really work out. Steven Taylor lasted only one season in the MLS before deciding the American Dream was overrated. Leaving Portland Timbers by ‘mutual consent’, the ex-Newcastle man is looking for a return to Europe. Another MLS outcast is Luke Moore. Once of Aston Villa (cursed!), WBA, Swansea and Derby County, Moore has always been a striker that relies on pace. Still only 30, he could be picked up this January after nearly a year without a club.
THE BEST BARGAIN?
Which free agent represents the best value? English clubs are sure to spend hundreds of millions again. However, non-Premier League sides need to buy wisely. Could Adebayor fire Leeds United in to the Premier League? Would Joleon Lescott ensure Hull City get relegated in style? Should Bolton sign Reo-Coker again to help their promotion push? Nicklas Bendtner showed that older dogs can find new homes. We’ve looked at the free agents desperately looking for a new home this Christmas. Who do you think is the best bargain?
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