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Premier League: Wilshere, Welbeck and Pato – the free agents still available



Premier League winners, international goalscorers and experienced top-flight players – there is still plenty of talent out there for clubs looking to strengthen their squads this season.

After the transfer window shut for the major European leagues on 5 October, many Premier League clubs will be casting their eyes into the lower leagues, with a domestic-only window – which allows them to buy English Football League players – open until Friday, 16 October.

But there is also the option of the free-agent market – which Manchester United have already taken advantage of by signing Edinson Cavani – and a number of eye-catching names remain without a club.

We have taken a look at just some of the free agents around and want you to pick your own ‘free-agent XI’ at the bottom of the page.

Who said there were no bargains to be had still?

Jack Wilshere

It has been a long two years for Jack Wilshere.

The midfielder left West Ham on Monday after making 19 appearances in just over two years and with nine months left of the deal he signed with the club in 2018.

Injuries haven’t helped – something that also plagued him throughout his career at Arsenal before joining the Hammers – but the 28-year-old insists he “feels fit, strong and ready to play”.

An extremely talented player, Wilshere made 197 first-team appearances for Arsenal and was part of their 2014 and 2015 FA Cup-winning sides.

He has 34 England caps, the last of which came in the 2-1 defeat by Iceland in the 2016 European Championship last 16.

A fit and on-form Wilshere would surely be an asset to most sides?

Danny Welbeck

A Premier League winner, an England international and a proven goalscorer – and still just 29. Not bad a for a free agent.

Forward Welbeck was released from his contract at Championship side Watford on Monday, having not featured at all this campaign.

He joined the Hornets in August 2019, but only started eight Premier League games from a total of 20 appearances as the club were relegated.

Welbeck has 42 England caps and was a member of Gareth Southgate’s 2018 World Cup squad in Russia.

He played 142 games for Manchester United, winning the Premier League title in 2013, before joining Arsenal for £16m.

A bargain for someone?

Daniel Sturridge

The former Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool striker has been a free agent since being let go by Turkish side Trabzonspor in March.

The 31-year-old England international was released after being banned from football for four months for breaching betting rules.

He played 16 times last season and scored seven goals.

Sturridge was seen training with eighth-tier Kidsgrove Athletic last month in a bid to stay fit.

If a team is looking for goals, could a fit Sturridge be the answer?

Alexandre Pato

Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato became a free agent in August after he terminated his contract with Sao Paulo, having scored nine goals in 35 appearances.

The 31-year-old had previously been at Tianjin Quanjian in China and scored 36 goals in 60 competitive games for the club.

Pato, who had a brief loan spell with Chelsea in 2016, has made 27 appearances for Brazil, scoring 10 goals and winning medals at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.

He also scored 63 goals in 150 AC Milan appearances between 2007-2013.

Mario Mandzukic

At 34, Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic may be getting towards the end of his career but don’t be surprised to see him back in football soon.

He left Juventus at the end of the 2018-19 season for Qatari side Al-Duhail but, after just 10 games and two goals, Mandzukic was released and is now available on a free.

Mandzukic won four Serie A titles and three Coppa Italias in his time with Juventus, as well as scoring in the 2017 Champions League final as they lost 4-1 to Real Madrid.

He retired from international football in August 2018, a month after he scored in the World Cup final as Croatia lost 4-2 to France.

Samir Nasri

Samir Nasri made 220 appearances in the Premier League, playing for Arsenal from 2008 to 2011 before moving to Manchester City for £25m.

The midfielder played at Etihad Stadium until 2017 before joining Turkish side Antalyaspor.

In 2018, he was given an 18-month doping ban by Uefa for using an intravenous drip treatment he took at a Los Angeles clinic while on holiday in 2016.

The ban was backdated, leaving him as a free agent to join West Ham at the end of 2018, but he was released after one season.

The 33-year-old French midfielder made just eight appearances for Anderlecht last season and is on the look out for a club again. Anyone?

Pick your free agent XI

Select your XI from the free agents currently available