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There will be plenty of cash flying around this summer, but what of those on a budget? Liverpool have bagged the best freebie in Joe Cole, but which others are out there for little or nothing...? Nick Miller picks his top ten possible bargains of the summer.

Juliano Belletti

Want a steady, no-nonsense character with buckets of experience and a willingness to play wherever you ask him? In Belletti, you have your man, and while he is far from an inspirational player who will single-handedly win lots of games, he's certainly the sort who will stop you losing them.

Robert Koren

One of the key tasks for any promoted club is usually to keep hold of their better players, but not West Brom. No sir. They decided that they could manage just fine without the Slovenian, commenting that they "are best served concentrating our available resources into other areas of the squad". Apparently the likes of Giles Barnes, Gonzalo Jara and Jerome Thomas will do the Baggies fine in midfield, and therefore they aren't bothered about hanging on to one of their top performers. Curious call, and we'll probably never know the real reason, but that should not concern any of the Premier League's more modest clubs, for whom Koren would be a fine acquisition for nowt.

Nicky Butt

First he retired. Then he said he wasn't sure. Now he's thinking about it. If Butt decides to continue his career after all, then Blackpool should be on the blower sharpish, given how unprepared for life in the top league they are. And especially given the sum total of their market moving thus far seems to be having Franny Jeffers on trial.

Fabio Aurelio

The reaction of most Liverpool fans to Aurelio's departure was that it was a shame. A perfectly decent player whose fitness precluded him from properly establishing himself. The player turned down a pay-as-you-play deal to stay at Anfield, a deal offered presumably because of the straitened financial times at a club £350million in the hole. Someone with slightly more robust finances may be willing to offer a more permanent deal, and will have a useful player when fit.

Patrick van Aanholt

With probably four players ahead of him for the Chelsea left-back slot, the young Dutchman probably won't see much action at Stamford Bridge this coming season. That said, the promise he displayed while on loan for Coventry and Newcastle last season means Chelsea would be foolish to let him go permanently. A powerful player who can also fill in at centre-half, a lower-level Premier League club would have themselves a cracking loan for the season.

Sol Campbell

It was just before the start of last season that we all assumed Campbell had effectively announced his retirement by signing for Notts County. It's pretty remarkable therefore, that he now finds himself in some degree of demand this summer, after a better-than-expected spell back at Arsenal. In truth, his performances were nothing spectacular, but he impressed enough to make us take him seriously again. He seems to be humming and ahhing over a move to Celtic, so there's still time for a Premier League club to nip in.


Could go either way this. Raul has apparently employed an English agent to find him a club to wind down his career and earn a nice last pile of cash. So will we get a Klinsmann (the first time) or a Weah? Gullit or Klinsmann (the second time)? Apart from anything else, it would be an interesting anthropological experiment to see how Raul fares outside of his comfort zone, having been at Real since he was 15. Tottenham were the club linked most heavily in the Wednesday morning papers, but Liverpool perhaps? They need another striker, and although wages will be an issue, it's better than stumping up a fat transfer fee.

Dan Gosling

What a very curious episode. For those that haven't been following, Gosling was in contract negotiations with Everton for most of the year. After a few stumbles, he received a verbal offer for a new deal from the club, but due to some administrative cock-up it was never formalised into a written offer. This meant that as a mere whipper-snapper, he could leave at the end of his contract for nothing, and leave he has. One can only imagine David Moyes' reaction after being told that one of the more promising young talents in the country was on his way for nothing because of such a foul-up. Word is that Gosling may sign for Newcastle by the time you read this, in which case they'll have themselves a bargain and a half.

Craig Bellamy

Manchester City will spend some serious money this summer. There, we said it. We're sticking our neck out. And the interesting thing about their spending is that they are largely going for youth. David Silva is 24, Jerome Boateng 21, Yaya Toure a relative pensioner at 27, while Mario Balotelli (19), Edin Dzeko (24), Aleksandar Kolarov (24), James Milner (24) and Mesut Ozil (21) continue to be linked. All of which spells trouble for those north of 30, and Bellamy celebrated his 31st birthday last week. While Bellamy will always have his fans, and someone could be willing to pay the money for a permanent move, a 31-year-old on his wages is not an enticing prospect in these slightly more austere days. Furthermore, given that City are his eighth club in ten years, who wants to give a three/four-year contract to a man so fond of moving? It would be quite a coup, but a loan move could be the best for all concerned, given that City will want rid if he is going to cause trouble.

Jack Wilshere

In the clamour and storm of criticism following England's exit from the World Cup, everyone with an opinion on the game came up with lists of players who could save our national game. Wilshere was on most, presumably causing him a mixture of pride and dread. Hell of a lot of pressure to place on a boy of 18. His talent is beyond question, but the chances are he will not be an Arsenal regular this season, especially if Cesc Fabregas stays. He was impressive in the half-season loan spell at Bolton last term, and one suspects that a longer time at a similar level would do him the world of good. He may not be the divine saviour of all that is good and pure, but with the right nurturing, he may come close to being England's brightest star of his generation.

Comments (14)

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Jostein Knutsen (Liverpool fan) says...

Stunned David James is not mentioned! still on top of his game and one of the best , if not the best for quite some time now.

Posted 06:25 23rd July 2010

Karl Smith (Newcastle United fan) says...

Its unfair to think raul is just after a payday, im sure hes on a large wage at madrid, we've been linked to him which i think is a good thing. maybe just maybe hes after a challenge? or a change and more gametime? but oh no hes obviously a mercenary!!!

Posted 00:33 23rd July 2010

Joe Cole (Liverpool fan) says...

Joe cole the best 1 yet, maybe some 1 should get gallas maybe newcastle because taylor got injured. worst signing so far bramble to sunderland what does bruce see in him. As a liverpool fan i would sign bridge, hunterlaar and milner

Posted 21:18 22nd July 2010

Ivan Atkins (Manchester United fan) says...

Sir Alex Ferguson should go for one of dem like craig bellamy

Posted 20:50 22nd July 2010

Anon Anon (Fulham fan) says...

I heard our former rightback Liam Rosenior is a free agent this summer? We should never have let him go... Best right back we've had since Steve Finnan. Proven premiership class plus under 21 experience, plus he's still young

Posted 19:45 22nd July 2010

Ge Ewing (Chelsea fan) says...

I have to laugh at Sib's remark claiming Raul is past his best considering Liverpoo have Gerrard and Carragher who are both well past their sell by date, in fact..deadwood?

Posted 19:16 22nd July 2010

Niall Hayes says...

riquelme is on the free. best player in argentina bar messi. the man is pure quality and if west ham stump up his wages they are guaranteed safety before the 1st day of the season. genuinely serious that man united could do with him. scholes is well past his best and we have no replacment.

Posted 18:01 22nd July 2010

Adam Gooner (Arsenal fan) says...

Henri Lansbury is a great talent and he should realistically be given some games in the premiership. Stephen Appiah is also a good player.

Posted 17:34 22nd July 2010

Nathan Owen (Arsenal fan) says...

Jack Wilshere is the brightest new english talent and i believe that england have a geniune chance of euro 2012 glory with the lad. Come on the arsenal for the new season!!

Posted 17:11 22nd July 2010

Shane Lampkin says...

(Man u fan) i think united need to buy another striker midfileder an a decent center back an stop being so tight.. an get rid of the glazers there just causing loads of det

Posted 16:28 22nd July 2010

Andrew Pearson says...

a great young talent who clubs should be looking to sign is vladimir weiss from manchester city, if he founds a suitable club who will give him a chance i am sure that he could blossom into one of the best players in the world with in 4-5 years.

Posted 16:11 22nd July 2010

Jorge Cardenas (Barcelona fan) says...

What about Guti, from R.Madrid???

Posted 13:57 22nd July 2010

Big Al (Manchester United fan) says...

How about Santa-Cruz, Jamie O'Hara, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas of Arsenal, Tom Cleverly, Henri Lansbury, Gary O'Neil, Alan Hutton or David Nugent on loan, all of whom have good proven quality, Marlon Harewood or George Boateng on a free are also possibles

Posted 12:58 22nd July 2010

Sib Abbas (Liverpool fan) says...

Raul to Liverpool..?? Not likely, considering his age and the fact that he's past his best, would be a gamble trying to resurrect deadwood. Would be surprising to see Raul leave Madrid though as hes considered a legend there, but "money talks." Most of the players mentioned would find it difficult to hold a regular first team place in my opinion, most in regards to their age but maybe bought by middle-order teams in the league for their experience. Only player worthwhile investing in for the long-term would be Jack Wilshere.

Posted 10:46 22nd July 2010

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