FOX Sports Asia points out eight free footballing stars from aboard who we want to see in the EPL next season.
With the major European leagues wrapping up, now is the time for football clubs to focus on a key aspect of their summer plans – squad reinforcement.
While clubs in England have the luxury of a head start in the transfer market (what with the English transfer window officially opened), the other European countries (Italy, Germany and Spain) will have to wait until July before they can commence their wheeling and dealings for the season ahead.
But with all the cray cray transfer fees being bandied around, FOX Sports Asia singles out eight out-of-contract players that EPL sides can sign for next to nothing! Yes, FREE!
Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
Despite taking over the captain’s armband from the soon-to-be-departed Gianluigi Buffon, Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini’s future is still up in the air with his contract expiring in the summer.
The 33-year-old, who has played 470 matches in his 13-year stint at the Turin-based club, has shown little sign of slowing down – helping the Serie A giants to another league title this season.
The Italian international, who has been linked with Chelsea, has won the Italian league seven times.
Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid)
Finding the back of the net just eight times in total this season, Fernando Torres seems to have played his final game for Atletico Madrid.
The 34-year-old striker came on as a sub as he helped his boyhood club beat Marseille in the Europa League final and helped himself to two goals to earn Atletico a 2-2 draw against Eibar in the last La Liga game of the season.
Despite being heavily linked with a move to Japan, it wouldn’t be a stretch for the Champions League winner to return to England – considering that he previously played for both Liverpool and Chelsea.
Andrea Barzagli (Juventus)
As one-half of the air-tight Bianconeri’s defence, defender Andrea Barzagli is one of the first names in the starting eleven.
The versatile 37-year-old, who has deputised at full-back on more than one occasion, has been locked in contract extension talks with Juventus since January.
The Italian, who has played 37 matches in total this season, moved from Wolfsburg in 2011 for €600,000.
Mario Balotelli (Nice)
After rediscovering his goalscoring form on the south coast of France, Nice’s striker Mario Balotelli seems all but certain to leave the Ligue 1 side.
Nicknamed Super Mario, the 27-year-old Italian looks set to make a return to the Serie A – having played for both AC and Inter Milan.
But the controversial Balotelli might be tempted by a move back to England, where he will have a point to prove after a disastrous move to Liverpool in 2014!
Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus)
Limited to just 26 appearances, Juventus’ Kwadwo Asamoah has seen his playing time drastically decreased this season.
The 29-year-old left-back, who can also play in midfield, was named Ghana Player of the Year twice!
The Ghanaian international, who is set to sort out his future now that the Serie A season is over, is reportedly a target for Inter Milan, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur.
Max Meyer (Schalke)
The 22-year-old midfielder, who has had his differences with club sporting director Christian Heidel, is linked with EPL sides Liverpool and Arsenal.
The German international, who can also deputise as a forward, came through the Bundesliga club’s academy.
Hatem Ben Arfa (PSG)
Described as “one of the best-rated talents in France”, Paris Saint-Germain snapped up Hatem Ben Arfa after a dazzling 2015/16 season with Ligue 1 side Nice in which he scored 17 goals!
However, the 31-year-old winger subsequently failed to settle after his 2016 move to the Parc des Princes and didn’t make a single appearance this season for the Parisans.
Ben Arfa will need no time to settle back into the EPL should he choose to move back to England, having previously played for Newcastle United and Hull City.
Milan Badelj (Fiorentina)
Handed the captaincy following the death of Davide Astori, Fiorentina’s Milan Badelj has been a mainstay in the Serie A side’s first team.
The Croatian international midfielder, who was included in his country’s World Cup squad, made 22 appearances for the Viola who finished eighth this season.
The 29-year-old moved to Fiorentina for €5 million in 2014 and was previously a target for London clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.
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