Costa, Sturridge and the free agents clubs can still sign outside the transfer window

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST 3 min read
Costa, Sturridge and the free agents clubs can still sign outside the transfer window

The 2021 January transfer window is now over, with clubs now having to wait until the summer to open up their chequebooks to sign players from other sides.

It was one of the quietest in history, with most clubs around Europe and the world negatively impacted financially by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

With the purse strings tightened, most teams opted to seek out loan deals and free transfers instead of permanent transfers.

The window may now be shut, but that doesn’t mean players still can’t be brought in, as there are a number of free agents available on the market.

Diego Costa

At the tail end of 2020, Diego Costa requested that his Atletico Madrid contract be terminated after failing to get his desired playing time under Diego Simeone.

Prior to leaving, he had played just 205 minutes of La Liga football in the first half of the campaign, which prompted him to ask for his contract to be cancelled.

The former Spain international is still only 32-years-old, and could still do a job up front for a club in need of competition for their striker positions.

Within the transfer window, he was strongly linked with both Wolves and Arsenal, but neither move failed to materialise.

Alex Teixeira

Brazilian Alex Teixeira is one of a number of players within Europe who flocked to the financial might of the Chinese Super League in recent years.

However, with the CSL now having introduced salary caps to make it pretty much impossible to keep all of their foreign stars, the league has seen an exodus of big names who are now available as free agents.

He most recently played for Jiangsu Suning after moving from Shakhtar, and is likely heading for more riches at Saudi side Al Hilal.

Daniel Sturridge

It feels like Daniel Sturridge has been around forever, yet he is only 31-years-old.

If the former England striker can avoid injuries, which unfortunately he has proved he can’t, then he would be an excellent acquisition for a team looking to add more firepower up top.

He most recently played with Trabzonspor but had his contract terminated there in March of 2020 before receiving a worldwide four-month ban from playing football after being found guilty of breaching betting regulations.

Sturridge has been without a club since then, but is reportedly keen on a move to Major League Soccer or potentially back to the Premier League.

Alexandre Pato

Once viewed as one of the brightest young stars in the world, Alexandre Pato now finds himself without a club at the age of 31 after leaving Sao Paulo after his second spell with the Brazilian side.

His nomadic career has taken him to Internacional, Milan, Corinthians, Chelsea, Villarreal, and Tianjin Quanjian as well as Sao Paulo.

If it was up to Pato, he would be heading back to Milan.

“How could I not feel nostalgic [about Milan]? We’re talking about 150 games, 63 goals, a Scudetto and a Supercoppa Italiana. It would be a dream to return to Milan, which is in my heart,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

Ezequiel Garay

In February of 2020 Ezequiel Garay suffered a cruciate ligament injury that would potentially put him out of action for six months.

Valencia, at that time, were preparing a fire sale anyway and Garay was one of the players who was either simply let go in the summer of 2020 or sold for a nominal fee.

Since returning to fitness on his own, he has been on the lookout for a new club, and was even linked with a transfer to Liverpool in the January transfer window to ease the crisis they had in their backline, only for the Reds to turn to other targets.

A return to Benfica had been mentioned in the transfer window.