These footballers are still without a club going into Transfer Deadline Day.

Free agency has always been an underrated quarry to hunt for hidden gemstones. Teams on a shoestring budget can avoid the complications of paying hefty agent and transfer fees if only they ponder over the options from the free agency. Like every other time, some big names are available to make a mark wherever they decide to go.

5. Jason Denayer

The Belgian is comfortable playing in three positions- right-back, defensive midfield and primarily as a centre-back. The 27-year-old played a few seasons here and there, mainly due to loan spells in different leagues such as the Premier League, Scottish Premiership and Turkish Super Lig, before settling in Ligue 1, playing four years at Lyon.

He made a total of 106 appearances for Les Gones, which earned him his place in the Belgium national team. However, the Belgian international and Lyon have not come to terms on a renewal, leaving Denayer as an intriguing prospect in this year’s free agency.

4. Dan-Axel Zagadou

 Dan-Axel Zagadou
Dan-Axel Zagadou joined Dortmund on a free transfer in 2017 (Courtesy: Transfermarkt)

When German club Borussia Dortmund signed Dan-Axel Zagadou on a free transfer and a five-year contract, they expected him to develop as a resourceful centre-back. But, what happened during these five years remains far from their evaluation. He, alongside his teammates in the backline, has been atrocious, providing little cover in Dortmund’s defence.

Moreover, the Black and Yellows have been at a crossroads, unable to trust any of their available goalkeepers who can step up during this prolonged defensive crisis. The 23-year-old Frenchman is still very young. Perhaps he needs to find a new challenge to develop, away from a system where he has failed to elevate his level. Zagadou remains in search of a new club as the clock ticks on.

3. Diego Costa

A player who has had a fallout with the management wherever he goes, it should be no surprise that Diego Costa was dissatisfied at Brazilian club Atlético Mineiro. He decided to get his contract terminated to become a free agent after playing 19 times and scoring five goals.

While there is an interest amongst a few Brazilian clubs, the striker is inclined to push for a move back to Europe. This situation feels like a repeat of 2020. Costa acted under similar whims after his contract got terminated by Atlético Madrid.

2. Ross Barkley

Ross Barkley
Ross Barkley joined Chelsea for £15m from Everton (Courtesy: Chelsea)

Chelsea are a good outfit that like to loan out their talent due to the surplus of existing quality. They barely let anyone leave, incurring a loss instead of a potential profit. Ross Barkley’s career has fallen off the tracks in recent years due to injuries and unsuccessful loan spells away from the club.

The English youngster joined Chelsea for £15m, signing a five-and-a-half-year contract with the defending champions. He got his fair share of opportunities during the 2019–20 season, but failed to captivate the fans. They sent him on loan to Aston Villa the following season, where his efforts were again underwhelming. After making a total of 100 appearances for the Blues, the club eventually ended their relationship by terminating his contract by mutual consent. Barkley remains in search of a club to call his new home.

1. Marcelo

After making sporadic appearances for the last three seasons, Marcelo decided to call it a day. Eventually, putting an end to his decorated Real Madrid career. The 34-year-old veteran became the player with most titles in the history of Real Madrid, surpassing Paco Gento.

The duties of the left-back position are now in the capable hands of his successor, Ferland Mendy. In the twilight of a memorable career, the Brazilian is finally a free agent.

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