Marcelo and Mata among free agents still waiting on next moves

By Sports Desk August 30, 2022

Another transfer window has seen another huge outlay on fees, but not all great signings have to come at such a cost.

Paulo Dybala, Paul Pogba, Angel Di Maria, Antonio Rudiger and Boubacar Kamara have already moved as free agents in this window.

With just a couple of days to go before the deadline, there remain some notable names looking for clubs.

Let's take a look...

Marcelo (34 years old – last club: Real Madrid)

It is not often the Champions League-winning captain of the previous campaign is without a club at the start of the new season, but that has been the case for Marcelo.

Admittedly, the left-back – a five-time European champion – was firmly behind Ferland Mendy in the pecking order last term, starting only seven games in all competitions.

However, Marcelo said upon leaving Madrid: "I won't retire, not now. I feel I can still play. Facing Real Madrid won't be a problem. I'm a big Madridista, but I'm also a big professional."

Juan Mata (34 – last club: Manchester United)

Mata is another hugely experienced and hugely talented player who has not yet clinched what may be the final move of a fine career.

The Spaniard spent eight and a half years at United but only once did he start over 30 league games for the club in a single season. He appeared in United's Premier League starting XI on only 16 occasions across the past three campaigns combined.

Still, a switch from United to bitter rivals Leeds United would have been a controversial one, and reports of the Elland Road outfit's interest in Mata were reportedly swiftly dismissed by sources, leaving him still without a club.

Djibril Sidibe (30 – last club: Monaco)

Sidibe's stock was really quite high after winning Ligue 1 with Monaco in 2017, and he added a World Cup medal with France 12 months later.

However, the right-back did not follow team-mates like Kylian Mbappe, Bernardo Silva and Fabinho in quitting Monaco, instead sticking around to see interest in his signature wane.

An uninspiring loan spell with Everton did little to boost Sidibe's profile, but he is still a good age as he looks for another club.

Ross Barkley (28 – last club: Chelsea)

Barkley still had a contract with Chelsea heading into the final week of the window, but the Blues agreed to cut short a hugely disappointing four-and-a-half-year stint at Stamford Bridge.

Having secured an exit from Everton, the midfielder never recreated his Goodison Park form on the big stage, with a loan move to Aston Villa starting brightly before quickly fading.

Barkley was a key man for England as recently as 2019, though, and there will surely be a club willing to take the risk, with Rangers heavily linked.

Florian Grillitsch (27 – last club: Hoffenheim)

Perhaps the pick of the remaining free agents, Grillitsch is on the market because he chose to be, for Hoffenheim would have been very keen to keep a player of his talents.

Yet the midfielder is still waiting on his next club, revealing to Kicker he had changed his agent amid suggestions of unrealistic financial demands.

"Certain things have been extremely unfortunate recently," Grillitsch said, with the failure to land a deal to this point perhaps meaning potential suitors could instead land a bargain.

Related items

  • Emma Hayes recites poetry in reply to ‘irresponsible’ call from Jonas Eidevall Emma Hayes recites poetry in reply to ‘irresponsible’ call from Jonas Eidevall

    Emma Hayes bizarrely recited part of a poem after Jonas Eidevall branded her accusation against him of male aggression “irresponsible”.

    Eidevall’s Arsenal defeated Hayes’ Chelsea 1-0 earlier this month in the Continental Cup final but the result was overshadowed by a spat between the two managers.

    Hayes took exception to a touchline altercation between Eidevall and Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert and appeared to push the Arsenal boss after the match.

    Both managers were speaking for the first time since the contest ahead of matches this weekend, and Eidevall did not hold back in criticising Hayes for her remarks.

    “I thought the comments that I heard after the game were very irresponsible and they were not mirroring the conduct that I had in the technical area,” Eidevall said on

    “I think always when you make comments about other persons, you have to take into consideration what effects that may have. That’s why you need to be, especially when you’re a leader, you need to be very good with words.

    “You need to understand the consequences of both your actions and your language and that’s why I think it’s really, really important that we treat each other with a lot of respect and that we stay at facts as much as possible and don’t get too emotional.”

    Hayes’ response – when asked whether she would change her comments – was to read a line from Robert Frost’s poem Choose Something Like a Star: “When at times the mob is swayed to carry praise or blame too far, we may choose something like a star, to stay our minds on and be staid.”

    Neither manager offered an apology, with Eidevall saying he was “very happy” with the way he conducted himself, while Hayes described a conversation with her young son about responding to aggression.

    “My son said to me after the game, ‘Mummy, when you push someone in school you’re asked to go and take time out’,” she told reporters.

    “And I said to him, ‘You know what darling, you can’t meet aggression with aggression. All you can do is tell the teacher’. I thought it was a really good conversation to have with my son.”

    Pressed further, Hayes indicated she regretted her reaction, saying: “I’ve had a fantastic break, I’ve already explained an important analogy that I shared with my son and the lessons learned and my focus is on moving forward and I’ve had time to look at my star.

    “Of course it’s not right to meet aggression with aggression. I can only control my own behaviours.

    “I’ve reflected on that and next time I just need to listen to my son’s advice and I need to go to the teacher if I’ve got anything to say.”

    On Eidevall’s branding of her as “irresponsible”, Hayes said simply: “I don’t have an opinion on it.”

    There appears no prospect of clear-the-air talks between the pair any time soon, with Hayes, who will not face any sanction for the push, adding: “We don’t play Arsenal, we don’t have each other’s telephone numbers, we’d have no reason to do that.

    “But I’m sure when I become the boss of the USA we will have conversations. Until the end of the season, my focus is on Chelsea.”

    Eidevall revealed, meanwhile, that Frida Maanum, who collapsed during the cup final in worrying scenes, could return in next weekend’s match against Leicester.

    “Everything is looking good and that’s the most important thing,” said Eidevall. “She’s on a graduated, monitored protocol now to return to play.

    “She will not be available for selection (against Bristol City) on Sunday but, after that, if everything goes as planned, it looks promising for her to be available to play again.”

  • EFL says Leicester will not face points deduction this season over PSR charge EFL says Leicester will not face points deduction this season over PSR charge

    Leicester will not be deducted Championship points if found to have breached Premier League financial rules before the end of the season, the EFL has announced.

    The Foxes were charged with breaching the top flight’s profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) last month in relation to the assessment period ending with the 2022-23 season, when they were still a Premier League club.

    The club issued “urgent legal proceedings” on March 22 against that charge, and against an EFL transfer embargo.

    The EFL revealed on Friday that as part of those proceedings, Leicester had sought an interim injunction preventing any sporting sanction – such as a points penalty – being imposed in the current season, with the Foxes battling Leeds and Ipswich for automatic promotion to the Premier League.

    However, the EFL has now said that after taking legal advice it does not have the power under its rules as currently drafted to impose any points penalty ordered by an independent commission set up to hear a Premier League charge, and has confirmed that to all parties concerned.

    It said Leicester’s application for an injunction was therefore no longer necessary.

    There had been no realistic expectation that any points penalty arising from the Premier League charge would end up being applied to this season’s total, given the timescales involved.

  • Roberto De Zerbi confident Brighton can secure European football for next season Roberto De Zerbi confident Brighton can secure European football for next season

    Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi believes his side are still capable of securing a place in Europe for a second successive season.

    The Seagulls are 10th in the Premier League with seven games of a campaign memorable for a first foray into continental competition remaining.

    Current form is not good, however, with just one win from the last six league outings, but De Zerbi is optimistic.

    Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Burnley, the Italian said: “It’s difficult to understand how many points we need, but we have to think game by game.

    “I think we have the chance to reach Europe. It’s tough because there are a lot of strong and very good teams, but we have the chance.

    “The schedule is not the best, but we’re going to find a lot of teams who play in Europe – Man City, Chelsea plays in the FA Cup, Aston Villa are playing in Conference League.

    “I think we have the chance and we have to believe in that, and we have to win, for sure.

    “I would like to play next season again in Europe. I think this season we are paying a lot, a big price, for the first experience in the Europa League, but the second one can be easier.”

    Brighton are also hampered by a lengthy injury list. Tariq Lamptey and Julio Enciso are the latest additions after suffering knocks in last weekend’s defeat at Arsenal, taking the number of casualties to nine.

    De Zerbi said: “The situation is tough. We have still nine injured players – yes, nine.

    “It’s more or less the same squad we played against Arsenal but no Tariq. Julio Enciso is the ninth injured player.”

    Solly March, Jack Hinshelwood, Karou Mitoma, Billy Gilmour, Evan Ferguson, Adam Webster and James Milner also remain on the sidelines.

    Of those, Gilmour, Webster and Milner seem the closest to returning.

    De Zerbi said: “Billy is better. I don’t know how much time he needs to start with us on the pitch, but he’s better. James Milner, the same.

    “I think Webster, Milner and Bill can be available (in) the next weeks.”

    De Zerbi also confirmed goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen, who has started the last five matches, will retain his place.

    He said: “Bart plays tomorrow, starts at the beginning in the first XI. I’m happy and lucky to work with Bart and Jason (Steele) as well.

    “They are different players, different keepers, but both are very good, very important for Brighton.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.