It is fair to assume that free transfers do not elicit the same amount of excitement among football fans as high-priced signings.
Free transfers, on the other hand, have been some of the best additions to the squad throughout the world, both recently and in the past.
We will look back at the best free transfers in football history, from the least to the most, and offer our thoughts on them. These players’ total accomplishments, including major prizes won, are important elements in ranking them.
JAY JAY OKOCHA – Paris Saint Germain to Bolton Wanderers, 2002
Bolton signed Okocha in June 2002. As one of the most gifted African footballers of all time, it was clear that Jay-Jay Okocha and the best European clubs would want his trickery at all times.
After the 2002 World Cup, he found himself in the English Premier League, which came as no surprise.
The fact that he would be playing for Bolton Wanderers came as a surprise, and it was a fantastic opportunity for him.
Rudd Gullit – Sampdoria to Chelsea, 1995
Ruud Gullit, a Dutch great and all-round superstar, joined Chelsea in the summer of 1995, as the Premier League became increasingly fashionable and appealing to genuine worldwide superstars. It was not a surprise that he chose to join the Premier league. It was that time when every player was vowing to play in the League.
Gullit, who was signed by Glenn Hoddle, would play as a “sweeper” at Stamford Bridge, directing play and exciting fans across the UK with his arsenal of magnificent technique and ability to dominate the game from the back. Gullit managed to play 65 times for Chelsea and he found the back of the net 6 times in total.
ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC – Paris Saint Germain to Manchester United, 2016
When Jose Mourinho sold his loyal lieutenant, Zlatan Ibrahimović, to Manchester United in the summer of 2016, eyebrows were raised.
Mourinho could not have predicted the big impact produced by the phenomenal Swede when he arrived at Old Trafford, with 17 Premier League goals and a massive influence made over two years.
GIANLUCA VIALLI – Juventus to Chelsea, 1996
In the summer of 1996, when it was revealed that Gianluca Vialli, the Italian great, would be joining the Premier League, there was a lot of excitement and anticipation on both these shores and at Stamford Bridge.
The highly renowned striker had nothing left to win in professional football when he arrived for Chelsea. He was known for his affable personality, breathtaking volleys, and magnificent forward play.
James Milner – Manchester City to Liverpool, 2015
Some footballers are never completely recognized by their supporters, and we believe James Milner fits into this group as well. Milner’s tireless, selfless performances in Liverpool’s red over the last six seasons have undoubtedly been a major role in the club’s continuing success under Jürgen Klopp. Versatile, aggressive, and a fantastic penalty taker, Milner remains a key factor in the Liverpool team.
Henrik Larsson – Celtic to Barcelona, 2004
Henrik Larsson, known for his outstanding poaching talents, was the epitome of the classic “box in the box” centre forward that all fans adore to watch. Larsson’s talent, however, was far more than that, and after years of titles and success in Scotland, he eventually had his chance on one of the grandest stages of all, Camp Nou, where he contributed to yet more glory for Barcelona.
Michael Ballack – Bayern Munich to Chelsea, 2006
Ballack’s free transfer to Chelsea is one of the best in the Premier League.
The signing of German international Michael Ballack at Stamford Bridge in 2006 was a monument to Chelsea’s ascension to the top of the European game at the time, as the Blues beat off all other European giants for the signature of the skilled midfielder.
Steve McManaman – Liverpool to Real Madrid, 1999
Steve McManaman, a Premier League legend of the 1990s, ruffled his employers’ feathers when he openly refused to sign a new contract with Liverpool in 1998.
Despite a monetary offer from Barcelona at the time, the transaction fell through, and McManaman sat out his contract before joining Real Madrid on a free transfer in 1999, where he quickly became a fan favourite.
Sol Campbell – Tottenham to Arsenal, 2001
It’s difficult enough for any player to swap one half of North London for the other, let alone an actual fan of the team he left behind. Yet, in the summer of 2001, Campbell shocked the football world by leaving Tottenham for Arsenal in search of major honors. Campbell left Arsenal five years later as a “invincible,” and the move was a huge success. ]
Andrea Pirlo – AC Milan to Juventus, 2001
Andrea Pirlo’s free transfer from AC Milan to Juventus is not only one of the best in sports, but also one of the most surprising.
Leaving AC Milan for Juventus necessitates both bravery and deception, qualities that Italian football icon Andrea Pirlo possesses in plenty.
The midfield maestro, who has already won a World Cup and two Champions Leagues for Milan, could be nearing the end of his career.