Great article by Ewan Macdonald at goal.com on the best Primera Division players who are out of contract in the summer. These players can sign a pre-contract this month for their new team, or they can sign for free in the summer. Kameni actually made our top five Bosman candidates list.
Carlos Kameni (Espanyol): The Cameroonian has been linked with moves to virtually every top-flight club in Europe at some time or another during his Espanyol career, and although occasionally his eccentricity has cost the pericos, it’s clear to see why he is in demand due to his tremendous shot-stopping ability and commanding demeanour.
Cosmin Contra (Getafe): As Contra enters the twilight of a multi-faceted and journey-filled career, he still has plenty to contribute. The Romanian veteran finds it hard to last the 90 minutes twice a week these days, but with the right back-up he can provide both solid defending and the occasional bursting run forward. Just ask Bayern Munich about last season’s Uefa Cup confrontation!
Juanito (Real Betis): The Real Betis captain is another one on the wrong side of 30, but he remains a part of the Spanish international setup and an inspirational figure in Triana. One can envision getting a few good seasons out of Juanito yet.
Fabio Cannavaro (Real Madrid): As for Fabio Cannavaro, next year may well be his last at the top level. The Italian is itching to remain at Real Madrid – or so he tells the press – while the likes of Napoli and AC Milan are said to be eager to bring him back to Calcio. For our purposes he has one more season of service in him in the Primera and would provide an intelligent, if slow, partner for Juanito.
Sylvinho (Barcelona): Another evergreen, Sylvinho remains fit as his own career draws to a close. What he brings to the side is dependability: Barcelona still call on him from time to time to fill in for Eric Abidal and he seldom disappoints. If he could carve out an understanding with his countryman Edu (see below) then the left flank could well prove the highlight of this team.
Francisco Rufete (Espanyol): At 32 we find yet another veteran (seeing a pattern here?), but one who, again, has much to offer, at least for another season. The goals have dried up for him but he can still fire in a cross or a through ball.
Maniche (Atletico Madrid): Bad attitude? Sure. Loose cannon? Certainly. But a talent worth having? Absolutely. Despite his fiery relationship with coach Javier Aguirre – and from an outsider’s perspective it’s really mostly Maniche’s fault – the Portuguese international continues to impress for the rojiblancos and, with the right man-management, would be a stand-out player for virtually any Liga side, including our hypothetical one.
Ivan de la Pena (Espanyol): A gifted playmaker, De la Pena is renowned Spain-wide for his build-up ability. The main problem with Ivan is that he is injury-prone: over this season and last the former Barcelona man has managed just nineteen league appearances. Keep the 32-year-old, fit, though…
Edu (Real Betis): A youngster by comparison, Real Betis’ Edu hasn’t really hit the heights expected of him since his arrival at the Lopera from Celta Vigo in 2004. Or, rather, he has, but not often enough. Still, the odd moment of class from the Brazilian shows that he may just need a fresh start.
Jose Ortiz (Almeria): Almeria’s captain has spent virtually his entire career with the rojiblancos, but it is uncertain whether or not he will remain for next season. Indeed, the hometown boy has already begun to drop out of first team contention, but the 31-year-old has a wealth of experience and is an ideal “battler” in an aged team.
Fernando Morientes (Valencia): 32-year-old Morientes has dropped way, way down the Valencia pecking order, and it’s hard to see him remaining at the Mestalla after this season. Whether or not his Liga goalscoring ability has truly disappeared remains to be seen, but a run of matches is required before judgement can be made. With his track record, though, it’s a risk worth taking.