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EXPLAINER: What is a Free Agent?

Lionel Messi (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Lionel Messi (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Who is a free agent? How is a free agent signed by a club? Who are the big names that are free agents right now?

The world of football is currently abuzz with Lionel Messi’s contract with FC Barcelona expiring. Lionel Messi is currently not associated with FC Barcelona and is free to sign with any club in the world. Similar to Messi, there are a few other big names as well who are free agents right now and can be signed by players. Top footballers from Messi to Sergio Ramos are currently without any clubs.

WHAT IS A FREE AGENT?

A free agent is a footballer who is not associated with any club and his/her contract has expired. A free agent is somehow who can join a club without the club having to pay any fee to the player’s previous club. It doesn’t mean that clubs can sign a player for free. A player’s individual fee is still applicable but there is no transfer fee involved where a club will have another club too. As a free agent, a player can sign with a any club only on individual money and terms.

HOW DO TRANSFERS HAPPEN IF A PLAYER IS NOT A FREE AGENT?

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If a player is not a free agent, clubs usually negotiate with the player’s current club in order to sign him/her. Along with agreeing to personal terms with the player, a clubs needs to come in agreement with the player’s current club as well. That agreement is usually over a sum of money that the club wanting to sign the player will haveto be pay to the player’s current club as transfer fee. So on top of a player’s individual salary, a club has to pay his/her club a transfer amount as well.

WHO ARE THE TOP FREE AGENTS RIGHT NOW?

From Lionel Messi to Gianluigi Donnarumma to Sergio Ramos, there are a number of players who are available for just their own signing amounts at the moment. The biggest of them all being Messi.

Some big names like David Aalba, Georginio Wijnaldum, Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, and Hakan Calhanoglu have already signed with clubs on free transfer. Alaba moved from Bayern Munich to Real Madrid while Aguero joined Barcelona from Manchester City. Depay also signed with Barcelona from Lyon while Calhanoglu made his move within the city of Milan.

Here are three of the biggest names, who are free agents as of July 1:

LIONEL MESSI

If there is someone who has to be mentioned in this list at the top, it is Messi. The morning of July 1 was filled with the buzz that Messi is now a free agent after Barcelona failed to bind him in another contract before the expiration of his contract. Now, Messi can move to any club he wants and Barcelona will not get a single penny. Barcelona president Juan Laporta, however, said that the a new contract for Messi is being help up because of La Liga’s financial control measures. “It’s going well, he wants to stay and we’re making all the efforts to ensure he does. But we have to balance it with financial fair play," he said.

SERGIO RAMOS

Ramos has bid goodbye to Real Madrid, where he became a legend and won a number of big trophies. Ramos’ goodbye was an emotional one and he said that he would have loved to stay at Madrid. However, now he is a free agent and the latest reports suggest that he has signed a two-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain. However, it is not official yet and hence, he remains a free agent right now.

GIANLUIGI DONNARUMMA

Donnarumma is Italy’s No.1 and after his contract with AC Milan expired, he is now a free agent and he is up for grabs. He is currently on national duty at Euro 2020. There are rumours that he has also signed a contract with PSG.

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first published:July 02, 2021, 02:45 IST