Several former star players in the Premier League teams have been clubless in 2024, one of whom was the award winner recently.

The summer transfer window will soon be open again, and clubs will be making new signings until August to either overhaul the squad or simply strengthen the team with one or two players. The clubs will be expected to be more careful in spending their transfer fee to avoid overspending and breaking the rules in financial fair play. Two clubs have already had their points deducted because of such financial violations. Last season, Everton and Nottingham Forest were suspended by an eight-point deduction. Fortunately, both managed to survive the relegation threat.

In the transfer window, there have always been top or notable players available as free agents. They can be a short-term solution for the team. Should their form improve, then the club could offer them a contract extension. Such a decision can be a wise one in the current situation when it is not easy to sign high-profile names for a low transfer fee.

Here are the notable but clubless former stars in EPL teams who still deserve a chance for a new club to bounce back in their career.

Mamadou Sakho

The former Liverpool and Crystal Palace man has been clubless for almost a year. His last club was Montpellier. Sakho left the club abruptly in November 2023 due to his conflict with his boss at the time, Michel der Zakarian. The 34-year-old center-back played 128 games in the Premier League, contributing three goals and two assists. Unfortunately, he did not win a single trophy for both the Reds and the Palace.

He was only able to help Liverpool finish second in the 2013–14 campaign. However, he mostly featured in the 2018–19 season, when they managed to sit 12th in the final standings. The former PSG man seems to have no updated interest from any clubs so far.

Ryan Bertrand

He is the left-back who helped Chelsea win the Champions League and FA Cup in 2012, plus the Europa League in 2013. Bertrand was playing in the thrilling final. Yet he was on multiple loans while under the contract with The Blues. He was sent on loan to Bournemouth, Oldham, Nottingham Forest, Reading, Aston Villa, and Norwich before moving to Southampton and becoming the mainstay in the starting line-up. He stayed with the Saints for six years, until 2021.

His last club was Leicester City, where he only made 11 appearances in all competitions. He did not stay with the Foxes due to their relegation in the summer of 2023. Ironically, Leicester has returned to the top flight, while he has not been linked to any other clubs yet. 

Skhodran Mustafi

The 32-year-old center-back was part of the Arsenal squad from 2016 to 2021. He won two FA Cups during his stint at Emirates. The German international tends to be prone to injuries. Mustafi’s last club was Levante, a member of the Segunda division in Spain, back in 2022/23. The former Schalke and Valencia man, who also helped Germany win the 2014 FIFA World Cup, has yet to draw any interest from other clubs, except from Serie A side Salernitana. They contacted him and studied the possibility of signing Mustafi, but the move has yet to materialize. His salary demand is deemed to be the main issue.

Anwar El Ghazi

The 29-year-old forward was a key player at Aston Villa from 2018 to 2021. He helped them gain promotion in 2019 and became the mainstay in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons, as he can be deployed as a winger. El Ghazi was in top form in both campaigns, contributing nine goals and seven assists in the former and 11 goals in the latter, which also helped Aston Villa tickets be in high demand. The Villans improved in their position on the table, from 17th to 11th. Unfortunately, he lost his place in the starting XI in the following two seasons. 


The former Ajax man then switched sides to Everton, Lille, and PSV Eindhoven before signing for the Bundesliga’s Mainz, his last club. In late 2023, his contract was suddenly terminated due to his social media post on the Israel-Palestine conflict. El Ghazi has reportedly been Celtic’s and Lazio’s target recently. During his stint in England, the Dutch international with two caps featured in 73 games, registering 15 goals and five assists in the Premier League. 

Lys Mousset

The former Sheffield United and Bournemouth man is currently clubless. He was last registered as the frontman for Bochum in the Bundesliga last season. Yet, he did not make a single appearance in the league. Mousset then went on loan to Ligue 1 team Nimes in 2023, but his contract with Bochum was terminated in January 2024. Mousset was instrumental during the 2019/20 campaign as he was paired up with Ollie McBurnie upfront to help the Blades finish ninth in the standings. The former Le Havre man bagged six goals and made four assists in the EPL. So far, there has been no interest from other clubs in signing him. 

Aron Gunnarson

The 35-year-old defensive midfielder was Cardiff City’s key man from 2011 to 2019. He played in the top flight for only two seasons, 2013–14 and 2018–19. His last club was Qatar’s Al Arabi. During his spell in England, he made 51 appearances, scoring two goals and providing three assists in the Premier League. The Icelandic international has been the captain in international fixtures, including in two major tournaments, the 2016 EURO and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The former Coventry City man has not been the target of any clubs yet. 

David de Gea

He is probably the most shocking one on the list. De Gea has been the key figure between the sticks at Manchester United since 2010. He was even the Golden Glove Award winner in 2022–23, his last season at Old Trafford. It was his second one, after the first one in 2018. De Gea has won league titles in 2013, the FA Cup in 2016, the Europa League in 2017, and the EFL League Cup in 2017 and 2023.

The former Atletico Madrid man has not lacked any interest from various clubs around the continent, including Newcastle United, Real Betis, Bayern Munich, and even two Saudi Pro League sides, Al Nassr and Al Shabab. Yet he turned them all down as he demanded a high salary, a guaranteed first choice, and a chance to play in the Champions League. Such are unfortunately not easy to get, which makes him still clubless for a year already.

PHOTO: Unsplash

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