8. Mathieu Flamini
Nobody could forget Flamini in his prime. He was 24, a young man in his prime. He had just signed for AC Milan on the kind of wages that someone his age could usually only dream about.
Four years at Arsenal had come to an end when Flamini completed his move to Italy in 2008. He was thrown straight into a team that included Paolo Maldini, Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf and Ronaldinho. In his third season there, Milan won the Scudetto. It remains the last time any club other than Juventus has done so. It could scarcely have been more glamorous.
He returned to Arsenal, but played a slightly less important role for Arsene Wenger’s side than he used to. Flamini shunned the life of a typical multi-millionaire footballer: the cars, the fashion, the nightlife. He had his sights set on a post-career business venture. Now he is co-founder of GF Biochemicals, the first company in the world able to mass-produce levulinic acid, but is still showing no signs of hanging up his boots.
7. Fredy Guarin
The former Inter Milan midfielder from 2012 to 2016, Fredy Guarin could be an option for few Euorpean clubs after two solid seasons at Shanghai Shenhua. He is 33-year-old and should still have something in the tank and is a decently versatile in the midfield.
In hindsight, Fredy Guarin’s decision to join the Chinese Super League was a poor one. The Colombia left Inter for Shanghai Greenland Shenhua in 2016, but it only took him two years to beg for the Nerazzurri to take him back to Italy. They didn’t and Guarin was forced to remain in China for another year before he was released in July.
He was an exciting and explosive midfielder during his peak at Inter Milan and, while he may have lost a yard of pace over the last few years, he would be a decent pickup – that’s as long as his time in China hasn’t effected his wage demands too dramatically. Serie A newcomers Brescia, who won the Serie B title last season and with it promotion to the top flight, were rumored to have approached the Colombia international to ask about his availability.