High-Profile Clubless Players in the 2023/24 Season

Several notable clubless players could still sign for new clubs in the remaining 2023/24 campaign, despite the end of the winter transfer window.

The January transfer window closed on 1 February for most of Europe. with a number of clubs had secured new signings by the deadline. However, this does not imply that clubs no longer have the opportunity to sign new players. They could still snatch players who are currently clubless or free agents. Their contracts were terminated by their previous teams due to a lack of agreement on the new offer, injuries, or simply conflicting issues with internal management. They are typically available for recruitment at any time during the season.

Certain clubs have signed two former international stars for short-term deals. Two relegation strugglers, Serie A side Salernitana and Ligue 1’s Le Havre, reached an agreement to recruit German centre back Jérôme Boateng and Ghana forward André Ayew respectively. Boateng has made two appearances ever since, while Ayew has even featured in eight games and registered three goals since his return from the 2023 AFCON.

Aside from them, the list of free agent players includes a surprising number of well-known names. Some are even under 30 years old. Here are the well-known clubless players in 2024 who could find a new club this season.

David de Gea

The Premier League’s golden glove award winner last season is currently still unattached today. The Spanish goalkeeper has opted to leave Manchester United after he did not receive the expected new contract. What is more, his boss was already targeting André Onana in the summer.

He has actually not been short of offers. A number of clubs have been contacting him to join in the middle of the season, including Real Betis, Inter Milan, Newcastle United, and Saudi sides. Yet, none of them have been able to convince the former Atletico Madrid shot-stopper to return between the sticks, mainly due to their inability to match his expected salary.

De Gea may have ponder lowering his demand, should he still be interested in playing again. He is no longer the type of goalie that big teams want to sign because he is deemed unsuitable for the sweeper-keeper role. As a result, joining the mid or low-table side appears to be a viable option for him.


The 29-year-old midfielder has been clubless since last summer, too. His contract with Rennes was not extended, mainly due to his injuries. The Portuguese only played in eight matches for them and barely contributed to the team.

In the remaining 2023/24 campaign, Xeka could be joining Aston Villa this season, should Unai Emery be looking for a backup in their midfield to finish in the top four. Xeka was a mainstay in Lille while lifting the Ligue 1 title in 2021. He thrived as a solid defensive and central midfielder under Christophe Galtier and enjoyed his five-year spell with Les Dogues. His experience can be useful to the Villans’ campaign this season.

Anwar El Ghazi

The 28-year-old forward has been without a club since November 2023 due to his Instagram post on the Israel-Hamas conflict by his last club, Mainz 05. He only made three appearances with the Bundesliga side. Manchester United once considered signing him as a backup winger after loaning Jadon Sancho and Anthony’s degrading form. Unfortunately, such a move did not materialize.

El Ghazi previously played for PSV Eindhoven, Everton, Aston Villa, and Lille after his spell at Ajax. The frontman, who could be deployed as a wide attacker, has just earned two caps with the Netherlands national team. He reportedly pondered the idea of switching sides to Morocco in 2022.

Mamadou Sakho

The French defender has been without a club since his contract with Montpellier was terminated in November 2023. Sakho was reported to have had a heated argument with his boss, Michel Der Zakarian, which resulted in the gaffer falling to the floor.

The former Liverpool and PSG man joined Montpellier in the summer of 2021 after his contract with Crystal Palace expired. He was the mainstay of the 2012 Ligue 1 winner for two seasons, with 45 appearances. Sadly, after the incident, no clubs have been making an approach to signing the 34-year-old defender, including the ones in the Saudi Pro League, despite his interest.

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