Surprisingly, quite a few free transfers happen, and a lot of them have been quite the bargain for some clubs. Meanwhile, the clubs that let them go have regretted doing so- I.E Paul Pogba.
An EU ruling allows out-of-contract footballers to leave their clubs without them receiving a transfer fee. It is named after Belgian striker Jean-Marc Bosman, who took his club, RC Liege, to court over his desire to move to Dunkerque against his employers’ wishes.
In 1995, the European Court of Justice banned restrictions on foreign EU players within national leagues and allowed players in the EU to move to another club at the end of a contract without a transfer fee being paid. As already astronomical transfer fees continue to rise, the free transfer remains an opportunity for a shrewd coup. Who have been the best free transfers in football history?
Let’s take a look at the best ever bargains in footballing history. So have a look and see if you remember any of these best free transfers.
10. Roberto Baggio (AC Milan to Bologna, 1997)
The Divine Ponytail’s powers seemed to be on the wane when he left Milan in 1997, so much that Parma boss Carlo Ancelotti passed up the chance to sign him for nothing that summer.
Bologna duly stepped in and were rewarded with some stunning showings the following season: Baggio scored 22 goals and provided six assists as the so-called relegation candidates secured an eighth-place finish. The playmaker’s performances earned him a spot in Italy’s World Cup ‘98 squad, and a transfer to boyhood club Inter.
9. Steve McManaman (Liverpool to Real Madrid, 1999)
McManaman was heavily criticised for signing a pre-contact agreement with los Blancos midway through the 1998/99 campaign, but his decision to swap Merseyside for Madrid was soon justified. Not that he was joining a particularly happy camp, however: Raul warned that the club’s dressing room was a “cesspit of lies, treachery and whispers” and suggested that McManaman had made a mistake in choosing Madrid as his next destination.
The England international didn’t take long to prove his worth at the Bernabeu, though, helping the club claim two La Liga crowns and two Champions Leagues within the space of four seasons.