Football Manager 2021 has been released for a while now, but that doesn’t mean a new game can’t be fired up at any point, with glory awaiting users who master their tactics, man management and, of course, recruitment.
One of the best aspects of FM 2021 is trying to build that team of superstars who you believe can lead your club to glory. A fantasy XI that will defeat all-comers – and one that would probably be unlikely to happen in the real world!
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However, before you manage a club with the big bucks, it could be necessary to trawl the other end of the transfer market – those who are available for free who could come in and do a job for a season or two.
Recruitment can be a minefield at times, but FootballTransfers has you covered.
Players have been ranked using the FMScout rating system as a guide, and to make things simple they have formulated a rating based on metrics like value, attributes, position suitability and age.
Note, they are free transfers at the start of each game.
Football Manager 2021 best free agent goalkeepers
As with every start of FM, there are a flurry of veteran goalkeepers available to pick up for free.
Keepers can play into their 40s within the game, and you can do that easily with the acquisition of the highest-rated free agent goalkeeper, Gomes.
Going slightly younger, and Danijel Subasic and Diego Benaglio represent interesting options.
Football Manager 2021 best free agent central defenders
Having left Valencia after a serious knee injury which has kept him out of action, nobody has taken on Ezequiel Garay yet which is good news for Football Manager players as he is a superb central defensive reinforcement for free.
Though the list is filled with players the wrong side of 30, former Celtic defender Jozo Simunovic represents an interesting option at just 26 for free if he can be kept fit.
Football Manager 2021 best free agent full-backs
|Kwadwo Asamoah (LB)||31||80|
|Gael Clichy (LB)||35||79|
|Ivan Strinic (LB)||33||77|
|Matthias Ostrzolek (LB)||30||75|
|Victor Alvarez (LB)||27||75|
|Antonio Valencia (RB)||34||79|
|Danny Simpson (RB)||33||78|
|Daryl Janmaat (RB)||31||78|
|Javi Moyano (RB)||34||77|
Kwadwo Asamoah is just 31 at the start of the game and represents an excellent choice to come in as a covering wing-back, full-back, or even a left-sided midfielder.
Gal Clichy is getting on in years but could be useful.
At right-back, you have two former Premier League winners in Antonio Valencia and Danny Simpson ready to be recruited to bolster your squad.
Football Manager 2021 best free agent midfielders
|Victor Sanchez (DM)||32||78|
|Pirmin Schwegler (DM)||33||76|
|Lee Cattermole (DM)||32||74|
|Yohan Cabaye (CM)||34||78|
|Fredy Guarin (CM)||34||76|
|Mehmet Ekici (CM)||30||75|
|Cristobal Jorquera (CM)||31||75|
|Samir Nasri (AMC)||33||82|
|Victor Vazquez (AMC)||33||78|
|Jose Manuel Jurado (AMC)||34||76|
|Aaron Niguez (AMC)||31||75|
|Oscar Barreto (AMC)||27||75|
The 32-year-old Victor Sanchez was released by Espanyol at the summer and it took him a while to find a club. In real life he plays in the Australian A-League with Western United but you can pick up him on a free transfer at the start of FM21.
Yohan Cabaye has retired in the real world but you can still catch him for a year in the game, while Lee Cattermole might be used if a lower league team in England tickles your fancy.
Further forward, bad boy Samir Nasri is one of the highest-rated players on our list, but be sure to treat him well or he won’t be happy, which wouldn’t be like him…
Football Manager 2021 best free agent wingers
|Ibrahim Afellay (AML)||34||77|
|Lucas Wilchez (AML||36||77|
|Pablo de Blasis (AML)||32||76|
|Dani Pacheco (AML)||29||76|
|Markel Susaeta (AMR)||32||81|
|Jefferson Farfan (AMR)||35||76|
|Enrique Esqueda (AMR)||32||74|
|Renato Santos (AMR)||28||74|
It seems that most Football Manager games start with Ibrahim Afellay unattached to a team and it is no different here, though the Dutchman is getting on in years.
On the right-hand side, former Athletic Bilbao star Markel Susaeta can still do a job in any of the positions on the right flank, and can be snapped up even at 32.
Football Manager 2021 best free agent forwards
Within the real sport of football, of course, Mario Mandzukic isn’t a free agent at all, as he signed a short-term deal with Milan during the course of the 2020/21 season.
At the staring point within FM21, though, he remains a free agent and can be picked up, albeit for high wages. You’ll have to be quick, though, as a player of his calibre available on a free gets picked up rather quickly.
There are some other big names available, with Alexandre Pato and Daniel Sturridge available on frees despite both being just 30 years old.
Further down, you have veterans like Emmanuel Adebayor and Giampaolo Pazzini.