For any Premier League club looking to rebuild on the cheap this summer, there are a few bargains to be had.
Not every close-season addition must come at club-record expense or be prised from a rival.
The advent of the Bosman ruling has seen the market flooded with free agents in recent years, the temptation to bring in a new face at no cost proving an attractive proposition for would-be suitors.
This summer is no different. Here, Sportsmail runs you through our free-transfer XI (formation: 4-3-3).
Free trade: Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole could both be up for grabs this summer
Goalkeeper: Brad Friedel (Spurs)
He’s getting on – he’ll turn 43 on Sunday – but there are a few saves left in the American’s glovebag yet. Until the arrival of Hugo Lloris at White Hart Lane in 2012, he had played every minute of the previous eight Premier League seasons. He only made six starts in all competitions this time around but would still make an able deputy for a top-flight club in need of an experienced head and reliable pair of hands.
Right back: Bacary Sagna (Arsenal)
Named in France’s provisional World Cup squad, Sagna will be one of the most sought-after frees this summer. Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea are all circling and the absence of a transfer fee should see his £100,000-per-week wage demands satisfied.
Something for nothing: North London rivals Brad Friedel and Bacary Sagna are out of contract this summer
Centre back: Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United)
Unceremoniously dumped after 12 years at Old Trafford, he will have no shortage of admirers over the coming months. Former United defender Steve Bruce, now in charge of Hull, has already hinted that Ferdinand’s number is on speed-dial and the 35-year-old will want a starting role having been a spectator for much of United’s calamitous campaign.
Centre back: Joleon Lescott (Manchester City)
Just five years ago Lescott was a £22m England player on his way to the Etihad as City’s rapid rebuild gathered pace. Two Premier League winner’s medals later and he is heading for the exit door having made eight appearances this season. Lescott is still just 31 and, given he satisfies the homegrown quota, could well attract interest from a top-six club.
United: Manchester defensive pair Rio Ferdinand and Joleon Lescott have been released
Left back: Ashley Cole (Chelsea)
Snubbed by England, Cole will not feel so unwanted when the scramble for his signature begins. He is perhaps the prize pick of all the players up for grabs this summer and there is an argument to say he remains one of the best left-backs in the Premier League.
Left midfield: Patrice Evra (Manchester United)
After eight seasons at Old Trafford – and five Premier League titles – Evra will be moving on this summer. He’s still good enough to warrant a place in the France squad and, given his 33 league outings for United this season, there are still plenty of miles in the tank. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him back in the Champions League next year.
Available: Left backs Ashley Cole and Patrice Evra (who is in our midfield) will have no shortage of suitors
Central midfield: Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
The 35-year-old is the only member of England’s World Cup squad who could leave on a free during the close-season and, were he to serve a reminder of his talent at the finals, it could well trigger a race for his services. He appeared 26 times for Chelsea in the league this season – scoring six times – and would remain a dependable presence at the heart of any midfield.
Right midfield: Joe Cole (West Ham)
His return to West Ham has not, it is fair to reflect, been a success. Nonetheless, there will no doubt be one top-flight club willing to take a punt on the former England forward.
In it together: Ex-West Ham, Chelsea and England stars Frank Lampard and Joe Cole face uncertain futures
Striker: Shola Ameobi (Newcastle)
He may have scored just three goals this season but Ameobi will be an attractive proposition for promoted clubs in the market for an experienced target man. He has made north of 23 league appearances in each of the last four campaigns and, should he shine at the World Cup with Nigeria, will not be short of interested parties.
Striker: Nicklas Bendtner (Arsenal)
After nine years in North London – and not a single trophy – the Dane will finally bid a not-so-fond farewell to the Gunners. He will no doubt talk of a transfer tussle between Real Madrid and Barcelona, but the likelihood is that a mid-table Premier League club could be the setting for his rehabilitation.
Forward thinking: Shola Ameobi and Nicklas Bendtner could attract interest from Premier League newcomers
Striker: Samuel Eto’o (Chelsea)
Nine goals from 16 league starts is a fair return but, it appears, not fair enough for Jose Mourinho. The Cameroon striker will be released this summer and the lure of his name – not to mention his goal threat – should be enough to persuade one top-flight admirer to meet his wage demands.
On target: Samuel Eto’o scored nine league goals for Chelsea this season
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