Who are the best free agents still searching for a new club?

There are still many well-known free agents searching for a new club. We've identified six particularly interesting options.

Claudio Marchisio, Fernando Llorente and Hatem Ben Arfa can be useful free agents for clubs looking for replacements.   -  Getty Images and AFP

Clubs in Spain, Germany, Italy and France have less than seven days left to buy reinforcements in the transfer window, though there are plenty of players still available for free.

The process of signing free agents is less restrictive than buying players from other clubs, as they can be brought in after the deadline passes.

Many teams might therefore be able to find what they are looking for without forking out hefty transfer fees, which have been known to increase closer to the window closing due to the difficulty of finding replacements.

Several out-of-contract stars secured moves earlier in the year, with Adrien Rabiot, Aaron Ramsey and Ander Herrera proving there is still real value to be found in the market.

We've identified six players without a club who could still do a job at a decent level.

 

Hatem Ben Arfa

Rennes attacker Hatem Ben Arfa has been without a contract since July.   -  AFP

 

If a club is willing to put up with some potential baggage and the occasional off-field issue, Ben Arfa could prove an inspired signing. He proved with Rennes last season that he is still immensely capable, as he scored seven goals and set up another two in 26 Ligue 1 appearances, while he also caught the eye with his dazzling dribbling in the Europa League. At 32, he is surely still worth a punt for a year.

Fernando Llorente

Tottenham Hotspur went through to the semifinal after Fernando Llorente scored a dramatic fourth goal at the Etihad stadium.   -  Getty Images

 

Even in his more youthful days Llorente was not the most mobile, but that did not prevent him playing for Athletic Bilbao, Juventus, Sevilla and Tottenham. It is difficult to read too much into his Spurs spell, given he only made seven Premier League starts in two years, but his ability to hold the play up and cause problems with his physicality seem to be intact. Recently linked with Manchester United, he might be more suited to a return to Spain, where the pace is slightly less intense.

Jose Mauri

Jose Mauri ran out of contract at AC Milan since July.   -  Getty Images

 

After breaking through at Parma as a teenager, Mauri looked a very smart acquisition by AC Milan when the former was relegated in 2015 and forced to start again in Serie D due to bankruptcy. In four years, he made just 11 Serie A appearances for Milan, but the former Italy Under-21 international is not without talent. A creative midfielder who is still only 23, there is plenty of time for Mauri – like former club Parma – to enjoy his own rebirth.

Martin Caceres

Martin Caceres in action for Lazio in Serie A.   -  Marco Rosi/Getty Images

 

An immensely experienced centre-back, Caceres, 32, has played for Barcelona, Villarreal, Sevilla, Juventus and Lazio in a distinguished career. He spent the second half of last season at the Old Lady for a second spell, making nine Serie A appearances. Injuries have troubled him over the years, but he proved in Turin he is still capable of playing in a top division.

Claudio Marchisio

Claudio Marchisio left Russia club Zenit as a free agent.   -  Getty Images

 

Although he is still recovering from knee surgery, a recent social post captioned "tick tock #imready" hinted Marchisio was itching to return to action. Most recently with Zenit in Russia, the Juventus icon has ruled out playing for another Italian side, which scuppered a potential deal with Brescia. Although not the competitor he once was, Marchisio can be counted on for experience, leadership and fine technique.

Lazar Markovic

Lazar Markovic scored just three goals in 34 appearances for Liverpool.   -  Lynne Cameron/Getty Images

 

Markovic is widely regarded as one of Liverpool's worst signings, certainly in the Premier League era. The Serbian winger rose to prominence at Benfica as a teenager, with the Reds then bringing him to Anfield for an estimated £20m in 2014. He has unsuccessful loan spells at Fenerbahce, Sporting CP, Hull City and Anderlecht before joining Fulham on a free in January. However, at 25, time is still on his side. A move to humbler surroundings might just be what the midfielder needs to rebuild his career.

  Dugout videos