Players in the English Premier League were free to talk to foreign clubs from 1st January but British clubs must wait until 1st June to do likewise.
Arguably the top talent of the names available on a free transfer come the summer is Chelsea and England full-back Ashley Cole. He has just turned 32 and would still be a prized addition to some of Europe’s top clubs.
The Republic of Ireland’s star centre-half Richard Dunne is likely to make a return from injury over the next few weeks and is expected to move to the MLS in the Unites States.
Former Republic of Ireland international Damien Duff’s Fulham contract expires in June and it is not yet known whether the 33 year-old will stay or leave Craven Cottage. The Dubliner has stated that he would like to eventually return to Ireland and to play in the Airtricity League.
In further news of Irish players, West Ham United full-back Joey O’Brien is also out of contract at season’s end. Having made 48 league appearances for the Hammers over the last 18 months, the man capped five times at international level has still to decide on his club future for next season.
Arsenal live wire Theo Walcott is out of contract at the Emirates in six months’ time. He has however been in talks with manager Arsene Wenger and it is thought that he could sign a contract extension with the Gunners.
Some of Manchester United’s leading lights over the last ten years and more; Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs are also out of contract in the summer.
THE ULTIMATE FREE XI (4-3-3): Jussi Jaaskelainen (West Ham); Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea); Damien Duff (Fulham), Phile Neville (Everton), Paul Scholes (Manchester United); Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Frazier Campbell (Sunderland), Carlton Cole (West Ham).