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Football Manager 2021 free agents: 30 of the best players to sign with no transfer fee

Football Manager 2021 free agents
(Image credit: Future)

Now you've got the game, you must surely be wondering who the best Football Manager 2021 free agents are.

Usually the free section of the transfer market doesn't have much to offer. Washed up Premier League talent, not quite glam enough for the US, is usually all you have on offer - but with COVID-19 providing plenty of obstacles for clubs this season, there are a fair few more deals to be had this time around. 

MORE FM21 Football Manager 2021 wonderkids: 50 of the best young players to sign

And not all of these players are past it. Have at it... 

Goalkeepers

Heurelho Gomes

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 39
Position: GK
Nationality: Brazil
Expected weekly wage: £17K

Former Tottenham Hotspur and Watford stopper Heurelho Gomes is approaching 40 - but he's not hung his gloves up just yet. Gomes would appreciate it if you offer him the vice-captaincy - but he's more than content with playing back-up. 

Danijel Subasic

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 35
Position: GK
Nationality: Croatia
Expected weekly wage: £32K

Two years ago Danijel Subasic was playing in a World Cup final - now he's without a club.

Subasic commands a decent wage for a Premier League goalkeeper and he's still of a good quality. Watch out though - he doesn't speak English and you'll have to send him on an intensive course. Get on Duolingo, Danijel. 

Orjan Nyland

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 29
Position: GK
Nationality: Norway
Expected weekly wage: £7K

He was playing Premier League football as recently as this summer but Orjan Nyland is currently on the doll and available for less than £10K a week. OK, he's not stunningly good but will suit a Championship club down to the ground. He'll ask for his preferred No.1 jersey too.

Right-backs

Antonio Valencia

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 34
Position: RB
Nationality: Ecuador
Expected weekly wage: £35K

Former Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia wants you to bring a friend or former team-mate to his next club and expects a preferred shirt number - it's the No.25 shirt though, not the No.7 that he gave up at United after the pressures of replacing Cristiano Ronaldo.

A tank of a defender, Antonio's agent also indicates that you'll have to send him on an intensive language course if you approach him... from an English club. No, we're not sure why Valencia is waiting until he's 34 - 14 years into English football - learn the lingo. But better late than never.

Danny Simpson

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 33
Position: RB
Nationality: England
Expected weekly wage: £15K

England are producing tons of top right-backs right now - but this one has won the Premier League. Danny Simpson is low-maintenance and still has a year or two left in the engine. Perfect squad fodder for a promtion-chaser.

Ivan

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 26
Position: RB
Nationality: Spain
Expected weekly wage: £9K

26-year-old Ivan is still a spring chicken when it comes to unemployed footballers. He too would like you to bring him a friend - it's not a dealbreaker - and will ask to play in his preferred right-back position. 

Centre-backs

Ezequiel Garay

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 33
Position: CB
Nationality: Argentina
Expected weekly wage: £32K

Ezequiel Garay is one of many casualties of Valencia's 2020 summer clearout and at the time of FM21 beginning, he's still got packed bags. He expects just over £32K a week and wants plenty of playing time - given Liverpool and Barcelona have been linked to him in recent real-world news, perhaps that's not unrealistic.

Ashley Williams

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 35
Position: CB
Nationality: Wales
Expected weekly wage: £3K

Things have slid down a cliff-face for former Swansea City captain Ashley Williams following an ill-fated stint at Everton. Now, he's asking for just £3K a week to become emergency cover at a club. 

His agent will suggest that Big Ash also takes the captaincy at your club, as silly as giving an armband to emergency cover is. He's a good fringe player in the Football League, still. 

Jozo Simunovic

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 26
Position: CB
Nationality: Bosnia
Expected weekly wage: £8.75K

Former Celtic stalwart Jozo Simunovic is a pretty low-key signing for any side. With such a low wage, he's a good fit for lower league football - and he's still young. 

Left-backs

Gael Clichy

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 35
Position: LB
Nationality: France
Expected weekly wage: £51K

Yes, you thought he retired years ago - but former Arsenal and Manchester City left-back Gael Clichy is available and willing to work in the lower leagues.

Such a massive wage might be a drawback but Clichy isn't going to complain if he's not an automatic first pick. He's 35, so this will be his last hurrah, surely. 

Kwadwo Asamoah

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 31
Position: LB
Nationality: Ghana
Expected weekly wage: £76K

Get yourself an other half who sees you the way that Kwadwo Asamoah's agent sees him. If you make an enquiry about the Ghanian left-back from a Championship side, his representative demands you strengthen your team, sign one of his mates and consider his client as one of the "most noteworthy players at the club". 

OK, Asamoah's good and will improve your squad but some of those demands won't be necessary. £70K+ every week in his PayPal seems steep too - he's perhaps worth it though for versatility at left-wing and in midfield. 

Victor Alvarez

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 27
Position: LB
Nationality: Spain
Expected weekly wage: £7K

Victor Alvarez wants less than £7K a week, to be played at left-back - he can't actually play elsewhere, bless him - and to provide your team with competition for places. He's in his prime right now and capable as a back-up for a midtable Prem side. Why can't all players be like Victor Alvarez?

Defensive midfielders

Tom Huddlestone

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 33
Position: DM
Nationality: England
Expected weekly wage: £20K

Tom Huddlestone has been a Championship cornerstone for the last decade and he's not ready to give up the fight. At 33, he has at least one more promotion push in him and as a fringe midfielder, you can do a lot worse. He's solid to bring on when you're winning at 70 minutes and just help close out games. 

Mandi

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 31
Position: DM
Nationality: Spain
Expected weekly wage: £5K

He's a solid, Championship-level defensive mid who's just finished a spell in India - but it's unfortunately not true that Mandi comes and gives without taking. 

He would like his preferred position, squad number and if you're in England, to be sent on a language course. 

Central midfielders

Andy King

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 31
Position: CM
Nationality: Wales
Expected weekly wage: £28K

He was a No.10 in a Premier League-winning side - that adds experience, right? Andy King was only released by Leicester City this summer but can still do a job in the lower leagues. Decent as a defensive or attacking midfielder. 

Jack Wilshire

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 28
Position: CM
Nationality: England
Expected weekly wage: £30K

The big one. He's still only 28 - former England golden boy Jack Wilshere is currently in the free pile. He'll become a pivotal part of any promotion-seeking squad and can still cut it in the Premier League - providing, of course, that you keep him fit and healthy. 

Yohan Cabaye

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 34
Position: CM
Nationality: France
Expected weekly wage: £25K

He's getting on a bit but Yohan Cabaye still oozes class. The former Newcastle United and Crystal Palace man is a no-brainer for any Championship side - let your director of football know he's not called Yohan Kebab first though, eh?

Yaya Toure

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 37
Position: CM
Nationality: Ivory Coast
Expected weekly wage: £16K

At his peak, Yaya Toure was one of the most devastatingly complete midfielders of a generation - it's hard to believe now that he's older than Prince Harry. Yaya can still ball anywhere in midfield and though his legs have gone, he brings with him an excellent reading of the game - oh, and one of the most iconic chants ever. 

One FFT team member has already signed Yaya for his Wigan Athletic side. Helped get him promoted but by the time the season ended, he had acceleration of a sloth. A classy sloth, mind. 

Right-wingers

Jefferson Farfan

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 35
Position: RW
Nationality: Peru
Expected weekly wage: £25K

Peruvian touchline-botherer Jefferson Farfan makes an excellent impact sub at a second-tier side. His versatility to play up front is an added bonus too - sign him up for a year and watch him fly.  

Wellington Nem

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 28
Position: RW
Nationality: Brazil
Expected weekly wage: £100K

We're not quite sure who gassed Wellington Nem but £100K is an outrageous price packet for his services. Still, he can play anywhere behind the striker and has age on his side - if you have wages to burn, he makes a decent squad player. 

Renato Santos

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 28
Position: RW
Nationality: Portugal
Expected weekly wage: £28K

Unfortunately not the Portuguese starlet from Euro 2016, Renato Santos is a workhorse right-winger still in his prime. Has midtable Championship gamble written all over him. 

Attacking midfielders

Samir Nasri

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 33
Position: AM
Nationality: France
Expected weekly wage: £70K

The volatile enigma that is Samir Nasri is still going strong into his 30s. He won't sign for any club he believes to be beneath him - or Arsenal - but his competence in any midfield role ahead of a DM is a huge plus. 

Aaron Niguez

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 31
Position: AM
Nationality: Spain
Expected weekly wage: £6K

He's hard-working and cheap as chips. If you're looking to sign Saul Niguez, then landing brother Aaron might help sweeten the deal - we can't promise anything but it's worth a shot, right?

Alen Halilovic 

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 24
Position: AM
Nationality: Croatia
Expected weekly wage: £40K

It wasn't long ago that Alen "The Next Modric" Halilovic was in the Wonderkids column - now he's doll fodder with past-it Prem centre-backs and wingers more used to the naughty step than the Nou Camp.

Still, Halilovic is a solid squad player at a bottom-half Premier League team. At just 24, he has plenty of time to prove himself - even if Modric is still better than him. 

Left-wingers

Mario Mandzukic

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 34
Position: LW
Nationality: Croatia
Expected weekly wage: £60K

Mario Mandzukic has a list of demands longer than his honours list - but considering this is a lad who's won trophies at Bayern Munich, Juventus and Atletico Madrid, you can do a hell of a lot worse than offering him two years and a bench role. 

Ibrahim Affelay

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 34
Position: LW
Nationality: Netherlands
Expected weekly wage: £30K

Ibrahim Afellay probably doesn't play like a 34-year-old in real life. He had his career sabotaged by injury, after all. For 30K-a-week, you'll be getting a versatile midfielder - though he prefers the left berth. 

Fabio Borini

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 29
Position: LW
Nationality: Italy
Expected weekly wage: £70K

A man who seemingly litters this list every season, former Chelsea, AC Milan, Liverpool and Roma hitman Fabio Borini is, unbelievably, younger than Gini Wijnaldum.

His ability on the left and up front can still be an asset to a lower-league side. He must have that CV for a reason, right?

Strikers

Daniel Sturridge

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 30
Position: ST
Nationality: England
Expected weekly wage: £64K

Out of Liverpool's famed 2014 frontline of Sturridge, Suarez and Sterling, it's most certainly Daniel Sturridge who's weathered worst of all. 

But fresh from a four-month worldwide ban for breaching betting rules, the 30-year-old is still good enough to keep up a drop-battler or fire a second-tier side to promotion - if you can cop those hefty wages.

Alexandre Pato

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 30
Position: ST
Nationality: Brazil
Expected weekly wage: £40K

Once upon a time, Alexandre Pato was the next big thing - now he's yours for an average Premier League wage and run-out in the cups every now and then. He's not the player we all thought he'd be, but boy can he finish. 

Mario Balotelli

Football Manager 2021

(Image credit: Football Manager)

Age: 29
Position: ST
Nationality: Italy
Expected weekly wage: £45K

Super Mario wants his No.45 squad number should you approach him. He's still in his 20s, amazingly, and he's a hit from the penalty spot. A recent stint in Ligue 1 wasn't awful. He's bound to be worth a punt - for the memes, at least. 

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