Football Manager 2021 free transfers: Best goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards

Martin Macdonald
Football Manager 2021 free transfers: Best goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards

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!

READ MORE: Football Manager 2021 best players: All the top forwards, midfielders, defenders and goalkeepers
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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

PlayerAgeRating
Heurelho Gomes3979
Adam Stachowiak3376
Danijel Subasic3575
Warner Hahn2875
Orjan Nyland2974
Diego Benaglio3674
Patricio Alvarez2674
Rob Elliot3474
Dani Gimenez3674
Mario Villasanti3873

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.

PlayerAgeRating
Ezequiel Garay3380
Francisco Molinero3579
Raul Albentosa3179
Jozo Simunovic2677
Nicolas Pareja3676
Ashley Williams3575
Georg Niedermeier3475
Fernando Amorebieta3575
Alexis3475
Simon Francis3574

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 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.

PlayerAgeRating
Kwadwo Asamoah (LB)3180
Gael Clichy (LB)3579
Ivan Strinic (LB)3377
Matthias Ostrzolek (LB)3075
Victor Alvarez (LB)2775
Tito (RB)3579
Antonio Valencia (RB)3479
Danny Simpson (RB)3378
Daryl Janmaat (RB)3178
Javi Moyano (RB)3477

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

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…

PlayerAgeRating
Victor Sanchez (DM)3278
Pirmin Schwegler (DM)3376
Mandi (DM)3174
Jucilei (DM)3274
Lee Cattermole (DM)3274
Yohan Cabaye (CM)3478
Benat (CM)3377
Fredy Guarin (CM)3476
Mehmet Ekici (CM)3075
Cristobal Jorquera (CM)3175
Samir Nasri (AMC)3382
Victor Vazquez (AMC) 3378
Jose Manuel Jurado (AMC)3476
Aaron Niguez (AMC)3175
Oscar Barreto (AMC)2775

Football Manager 2021 best free agent wingers

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.

PlayerAgeRating
Ibrahim Afellay (AML)3477
Lucas Wilchez (AML3677
Pablo de Blasis (AML)32 76
Jani (AML)2776
Dani Pacheco (AML)2976
Markel Susaeta (AMR)3281
Jefferson Farfan (AMR)3576
Samu (AMR)3075
Enrique Esqueda (AMR)3274
Renato Santos (AMR)2874

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.

PlayerAgeRating
Mario Mandzukic3489
Raffael3581
Daniel Sturridge3080
Alexandre Pato3078
Lady N'Doye3578
Giampaolo Pazzini3577
Lucas Viatri3377
Emmanuel Adebayor3677
Jonatan Soriano3477
Cheick Diabate3277
Marco Ruben3377