In Focus: Five free agents still waiting to be snapped up this summer
Mega-money deals are dominating the football world at the moment — but everybody loves a bargain.
With a number of the continent's most high-profile sides suffering very public financial difficulties, many clubs may find themselves turning to free transfers.
We put five of the game's most famous free agents under the microscope.
Former Manchester United stopper Sergio Romero is still searching for a new club after his six-year stint at Old Trafford came to an end earlier this summer.
Signed as a back-up to David de Gea back in 2015, the 34-year-old emerged as a popular figure at the club after starring in cup competitions when called upon.
He featured 12 times during United’s triumphant Europa League campaign in 2016-17 under Jose Mourinho, even keeping a clean sheet in the 2-0 final victory over Dutch giants Ajax.
Romero also boasts plenty of international experience, having helped Argentina to runner-up finishes in both the World Cup and Copa America during a 96-cap career.
He looked set for a move to LaLiga outfit Granada but recent reports suggest the move may have collapsed — news that should have plenty of Europe’s biggest sides on red alert.
A stalwart of Bayern Munich’s recent era of dominance, German defender Jerome Boateng is on the lookout for his next move.
Still with plenty to offer at 32, the versatile centre-back has an impressive honours list, including nine straight Bundesliga titles, five DFB-Pokals and two Champions Leagues with Bayern.
He also played a key role in Germany’s 2014 World Cup win and was hailed by many as the best player on the pitch when Die Mannschaft edged out Argentina in the final.
After enduring a tough period in Bavaria early last term, Boateng forced his way back into Hansi Flick’s plans at the Allianz Arena and was reportedly disappointed when the club opted to let his deal expire.
Having been linked with Manchester United and Arsenal, expect to see plenty of interest in his services in the coming weeks
Having arrived at Manchester City for a reported £32million in 2014, Eliaquim Mangala looked set to establish himself as one of Europe’s most fearsome defenders.
But it is fair to say the former France international has not lived up to his early promise, with a combination of injuries and bad luck ensuring his career has been a frustrating one to date.
Making 79 appearances in total for City, Mangala was a regular in his first two campaigns at the Etihad and featured nine times in their Premier League-winning campaign of 2017-18.
Loans at Everton and Valencia led to a permanent move to the Mestalla in 2019 — but again, bad luck with managerial changes saw him not featuring as regularly as hoped.
Mangala, 30, still has plenty to offer at the top level with a run of games and his Premier League experience may tempt one of the league’s lesser lights to take a punt.
When it comes to players who never fulfilled their potential, there are few more concrete cases than that of Jack Wilshere.
Having made his Arsenal debut aged only 16, Wilshere’s mercurial talent was clear for all to see — his Champions League performance against Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona still regarded as one of the finest ever produced by a teenager.
Yet 10 years on, football fans will barely bat an eyelid at Wilshere being without a club after a string of cruel injuries and ill-discipline sent his promising career into a brutal downward spiral.
Let go a year early by West Ham in 2020 before being released by Championship Bournemouth this summer, the 29-year-old recently told talkSPORT that "nothing has come up" regarding his search for a new club.
An ex-England international who still possesses a wealth of talent, surely it is only a matter of time before a club picks up the phone and offers him another chance to shine.
He may be 34 but former Chelsea and Arsenal defender David Luiz has not yet given up on extending his playing career at the top level.
The Brazilian departed the Emirates after a two-year stint with the Gunners saw him lift the FA Cup in 2020 — but he recently told the Daily Mail a return to England remains a possibility.
Speaking about his next club, Luiz said: "It will be the same as before — a club with ambition. The offers so far, they did not touch my heart. I want to stay at a high level. Maybe that will be in the Premier League.
"I am working every single day. I want pressure, to be fighting for titles."
Although jokes are often made about his tendency to make high-profile gaffes, Luiz enjoyed Premier League, Champions League and Europa League success during his time with Chelsea and is a serial winner.
Having kept himself in excellent shape during the off-season, Luiz is ready to add his famous flair to a dressing room once again.