The 2021 January transfer window is almost upon us. Clubs are free to sell and sign players, some need to bolster their squads due to injury, whilst other sides just aren’t up to scratch.
If a player’s contract is running out, clubs can approach them six months before and complete a pre-contract agreement. A club will obviously still have to pay the player and agent, but no fee will be exchanged between the two clubs if the player is aged 23 or over. If a player is under the age of 23, the case will go to a tribunal.
Here is the best XI of 2022 free agents below:
1 - Andre Onana
Onana has suffered a hard 2021 after he was banned from all football activities over taking a banned substance.
But he is best remembered for playing his part in the Ajax team which the world of football fell in love with during their magnificent Champions League run recently.
Onana was previously on the books of Barcelona, and trained at their famed youth centre ‘La Masia’.
Any potential signing may be tough as Onana is off to the Africa Cup of Nations to represent the hosts Cameroon.
But clubs will be tempted by his age as only at 25 he could be a top number one for a decade at any European team.
2 - Antonio Rudiger
Rudiger has really come into his own since Thomas Tuchel arrived at Chelsea. He has formed a solid partnership with Andreas Christensen and Thiago Silva and made Chelsea one of the hardest teams to score against.
The German defender was signed from Roma back in 2017, and has developed into a solid, reliable defender. He’s only 28 too, so has the best remaining years ahead of him.
Real Madrid are rumoured to be the favourite to sign him, but come January 1, it’s fair game for all teams.
3 - Andreas Christensen
Much the same as Rudiger, he is part of a solid defence. Christensen is actually a Chelsea youth product, and his road to the first team was long, enduring many loans abroad before finally breaking through, and doing really well since. He would be a great signing for any team.
4 - Nicolas Sule
Sule has never played domestic football outside of Germany, and currently plays for Bayern Munich. He towers above most footballers at 6 foot 5 inches, and is considered an ‘old school’ defender, something that some may argue is slowly being phased out of the game.
He’s only 26, and has served one of the best sides in the world for a long time, so carries with him an impressive CV.
5 - Marcelo Brozovic
The Croatian defensive midfielder is a very underrated player, as most holding midfielders are.
He’s been at Inter Milan for six years now, and despite his contract running down, has reportedly confirmed he’d rather stay at Inter.
He’s slightly on the older side at 29, but for his position, he could give four or five years at an elite level.
He’s previously been the target of interest from Manchester United, and they are crying out for a top DM, and it could be Brozovic.
6 - Lorenzo Insigne
The little Italian has been on the periphery of Europe’s elite for years, but has never made the step up from Napoli.
A key part of Italy’s Euro triumph, the 30-year-old is showing he can still produce on the biggest stage.
7 - Franck Kessie
Kessie is a dominant defensive midfielder, and has been the subject of a transfer interest from Manchester United for a while.
His stock has skyrocketed since making the move from Atalanta to AC Milan, and would make a difference in any top club in the world. At only 26, he has many years ahead of him.
8 - Paul Pogba
Pogba hasn’t reached the levels he had the potential for at United. The red half of Manchester let him go on a free to Juventus in 2012, before signing him back in 2016 for a then world-record transfer fee of £89 million.
He excelled in Turin, and looked like he could flourish into one of the world’s best midfielders, but he just hasn’t.
At 28, he is reaching his prime years now, and has been heavily linked to a move to Paris Saint Germain.
9 - Paulo Dybala
Dybala wouldn’t be on this list if a transfer fiasco between him and Spurs hadn’t happened. Tottenham reportedly refused to pay £14 million for his image rights, and transfer never materialised.
He graduated from Instituto in Argentina, before first moving to Italy with Palermo, before ending up at Juventus.
His career has recently stagnated, and a fresh challenge could be exactly what the Argentine needs.
10 - Ousmane Dembele
2016 was the year of Ousmane Dembele. The Frenchman burst onto the scene at Rennes, before heading to Germany with Borussia Dortmund, a club renowned for developing young talent.
After just a year at Dortmund, and 32 appearances, Dembele moved to Barcelona for a huge fee.
Unfortunately, injuries have severely hampered his development and thus, he has been labelled as unreliable. Still, he is only 24, and there is a top player there.
11 - Kylian Mbappe
To round off this list, we have a superstar.
Mbappe burst onto the scene with a soon to be star-studded Monaco squad including Bernardo Silva, Fabinho and Radamel Falcao.
He soon got his big move, switching to PSG for £166 million, making him at the time the most expensive teenager of all time and the third most expensive player in history.
He’s won the European Golden Boy and World Cup during his short career. In 124 games for PSG, he’s scored 100 goals, an astonishing return.
The forward has made it clear he does wish to leave PSG, who reportedly turned two bids down from Real Madrid in the summer.
He only turned 23 less than two weeks ago, so has at least a decade at the top.