January is halfway gone and many clubs have started making their pre-signing of players on free transfers. Most notable among these a host of top players who are suspected to be entering pre-signing free transfers, of which we believe that plans had already started for these even before January 2015.
If you’re following the news closely, you would have seen that from January, major European clubs began to approach players whose contract will end at the end of 2014-15 season. Sometimes multiple clubs are attracted to a player; especially a top player can get up to three clubs eyeing him. Clubs in the European Union are taking advantage of the Bosman Ruling which gives them the opportunity to acquire players on free transfers.
Before the Bosman ruling took effect, professional clubs in some parts of Europe were able to prevent players from joining a club in another country even if their contracts had expired. However, the Bosman ruling meant that players could move to a new club at the end of their contracts without their old club getting any payment (free transfer) in what is called pre-contract signing. This usually happens when the player’s contract is about six months or less to end.
While the players involved may not move at the end of January, it has been seen that Bosman ruling provides an excellent opportunity for acquiring players on free transfers before the summer window opens. This January 2015 is not an exception. In this write up, I’ll pay attention to the top players fit to be on free transfers in the Bundesliga.
1. Claudio Pizarro (Bayern Munich)
He is 36 and still waxing strong in the field of play. In fact, many people seem to hold the view that his time is past. But the truth is, his accomplishment speaks for him. With 176 goals in the Bundesliga, he surfaces as the most outstanding signing for many clubs in the top division.
Even Pep Guardiola can talk about the wonders Pizarro has performed. Being a traditional striker with goal scoring instincts, who though lacks pace, he makes up for it with playmaking skills and when you consider the sporting striker challenges at Stuttgart, Bremen, Hamburg or Dortmund, Pizarro would be a reliable stop-gap when his contract expires.
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2. Vieirinha (Wolfsburg)
Some prefer to call him the tricky Portuguese dribbler and he’s so good that Wolfsburg certainly would not want to give him away. Like I wrote above, this player has many clubs interested in him and most of these clubs are top-notched clubs, like, say for example, Sevilla, Dynamo Kyiv, and other European clubs. But the Wolves may not want him to go because of the lure of the Champions League football. This means that Wolfsburg may try to extend his contract.
For now, Vieirinha is a wanted man in several clubs in Europe. At 28, he has been a wonderful player for his team in 2014 and still stands to perform better even 2015, playing on the right-hand side of midfield and in some occasions, deputizing at right full-back.
You may not compare him to magicians; the likes of Ronaldo or Messi but he’s got tact and he’s smart and able to keep things on the wing. His name may not strike you as an enigma, yet, he’s of course, one player to keep an eye on.
3. Loris Karius (Mainz)
He competes with a lot of top goalkeepers, yet he holds his own and has even become a footballer in his own right as one of the best. The 21-year-old has links with clubs such as Benfica and Liverpool. He helped solve a goalie crisis for his club last year, just to prove his worth and from there, he goes on to accomplish more. As a teenager, he went to England and played for Manchester City, then returned to Mainz in 2011. He is known as a quick decision-maker, a footballer that would be the ideal bargain to cure any goalkeeping crisis his club may have.
4. Tolgay Arslan (Hamburg)
He is rumoured to be a player that his club wants to sell but with about six months left on his contract, it appears that the rumour is untrue. Of course, the player revealed he would love to move to Italy. At 24, the midfielder definitely will end his contract at Hamburg SV in June 2015 and by then, any smart club could snatch him up.
5. Sebastian Prödl (Bremen)
Though Prödl is currently out injured, he remains a strong player in Bremen’s struggling setup and he’s crucial to the club. At 27, Prödl is at his prime and is actually getting other offers. You may consider him as not being at the top of his potentials yet. But a top-quality coach could help him reach his real potential, instead of staying with Bremen and remaining the same.