x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Premier League clubs are on the lookout

With 133 players released by their clubs this week,we select a composite XI who could prove bargains.

Goalkeeper:

Marcus Hahnemann

The outgoing Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper will hope clubs look as favourably on his age (he turned 39 this week) as Tottenham Hotspur did with his fellow American Brad Friedel, 40.

Defenders:

Tom Cruise

Lower league clubs will be queuing up to sign the England youth international left-back. Played in the Champions League for Arsenal but too similar and just as lightweight as Gael Clichy and Keiren Gibbs.

Matthew Upson

This time last year Upson, 32, was preparing to start for England against Slovenia. Now he is out of work after his contract expired at West Ham United. Despite a chequered injury record, he should be able to find a Premier League club.

Jonathan Woodgate

Injury-prone does not even begin to sum up his career. A combination of injuries restricted him to just one substitute appearance for Tottenham Hotspur last season. He turned down a pay-as-you-play deal at Spurs but may have to accept something similar if he is to continue his career. A top-class defender when fit.

Jody Craddock

The redoubtable defender is considering the option of a new one-year deal at Wolves who will not want to dish out a lengthier contract to a player who turns 36 next month. Player of the Season last year, he scored a crucial goal at Sunderland in the relegation scrap.

Midfielders:

Owen Hargreaves

He won over the England fans with a heroic performance against Portugal at the 2006 World Cup. He will need to prove the doubters wrong again if he is to recover from a series of cruel injuries at Manchester United and re-emerge as a midfield force.

Nigel Reo-Coker

He probably would have earned a new deal had Gerard Houllier remained in charge of Aston Villa. Houllier recalled him from the wilderness and restored him as captain after a row with Martin O'Neill. He is still only 27 and his best years should be ahead of him.

Patrick Vieira

Not the same marauding, leggy midfielder who inspired Arsenal to their unbeaten season in 2003/04, but Vieira's experience will be welcomed by some club should the 35-year-old Frenchman decide to extend his career. His value at Manchester City, especially to Roberto Mancini's talented younger players such as Mario Balotelli, was understated.

Zoltan Gera

He could yet earn a reprieve at Fulham after the departure of Mark Hughes, who never started the Hungarian. Suitors will still remember his two goals against Juventus in the Europa League.

Strikers:

John Carew

Surplus to requirements at Villa and Stoke City, where he spent last season on loan, as he is too similar to Emile Heskey and Kenwyne Jones. He will probably have to lower his wage demands if he is to secure a club.

Eidur Gudjohnsen

The former Chelsea frontman failed to make any impact at Stoke. Turns 33 in September and any new club will be looking to see him improve his fitness.