Ranking the 7 Best Serie A Players Available on Free Transfers

Anthony LopopoloFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2014

Ranking the 7 Best Serie A Players Available on Free Transfers

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    Massimo Pinca/Associated Press

    The free transfer gave Juventus the man with the beard. Andrea Pirlo—inexplicably, unbelievably—was let go by AC Milan and allowed to join a direct rival for absolutely nothing. 

    Pirlo's contract with Juventus was set to expire this summer, but the club were not going to make the same mistake. While it took a few months to finalize, the contract extension finally came last month.

    "Would I go back to Milan? No, not now. I did what I had to do there," Pirlo told Radio Dee Jay (h/t The Score). "I'm happy to be at Juve. I think that players don't have to go back to where they once did good things."

    So Pirlo only looks forward. He could have gone to England by now—maybe even Real Madrid or Barcelona—but he is 35 and comfortable at Juventus.

    There have not been any such high-profile moves (read: mistakes) since then. But there are still players waiting to be picked up, waiting for that chance to prove themselves once again.

    Here are just seven of those Serie A players who would cost nothing.

Esteban Cambiasso

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    Marco Vasini/Associated Press

    Esteban Cambiasso has left Inter along with Walter Samuel, Cristian Chivu and Diego Milito.

    Cambiasso had a decent final season with the Nerazzurri, starting 32 games in Serie A. Samuel, Chivu and Milito have all been replaced, but Cambiasso leaves a void much harder to fill.

    "My career for the time being is still in Europe," Cambiasso told the website FCInterNews.it (h/t Daily Mail). But Inter are not one of those clubs.

    Spurs appeared to be interested in the 33-year-old midfielder, but the Daily Star's Jack Wilson reported that new coach Mauricio Pochettino does not want him.

Mario Yepes

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    Fernando Vergara/Associated Press

    Mario Yepes was supposed to retire after the World Cup. But before playing and winning against Uruguay in the round of 16, Yepes told reporters that he doesn't "feel" his age.

    At 38, Yepes was one of the best defenders in the tournament. He made crucial (and clean) tackles and was a true captain for Colombia.

    "He is our captain, we respect him a lot and each time he plays he gives everything out on the pitch," said Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina.

    Yepes is no closer to retiring, even though his contract with Serie A club Atalanta expired a few days ago. 

    "We will draw our conclusions when the finals are over," he said.

Massimo Ambrosini

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    Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images

    Massimo Ambrosini will not play another game in Italy. His agent told Radio Blu last month (h/t Football Italia) that he has offers from Italian clubs, "but he won’t take them into consideration."

    The 37-year-old midfielder wants to play abroad. If not, he could retire and move into the world of punditry. His agent also said he has a "significant offer" from a TV station.

    But a more recent report from TuttoMercatoWeb.com (h/t Football Italia) indicates that Ambrosini could head to England to play for Watford, which is owned by fellow Italian Giampaolo Pozzo. 

David Pizarro

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    Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

    David Pizarro is a quality midfielder with leadership capabilities that would be attractive to clubs, but it looks like he will stay with Fiorentina.

    Pizarro has played for Inter, Roma and Manchester City. He featured in 28 Serie A games last year and still has the engine to chase down and frustrate players.

    He was linked to MLS expansion club New York City FC, according to the Corriere dello Sport (h/t Football Italia), but now a contract extension with La Viola looks more likely.

Walter Samuel

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    Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

    Walter Samuel put in some fine shifts in his final season at Inter.

    The last few years have been tough for the Argentinian defender, as he struggled with injuries seemingly everywhere, but he was a rock for Inter since 2005 and through their glory years. He could very well have stayed with the club if not for the incoming Nemanja Vidic.

    It looks like the 36-year-old could face his former team next season. GenoaSamp.com (h/t Football Italia) indicated that Samuel was on his way to Sampdoria. 

Urby Emanuelson

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    Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

    Urby Emanuelson had a troubled relationship with Milan. He was played virtually everywhere but in goal, and only later did he actually play in his natural position at left-back.

    Emanuelson is technically a free agent, but Roma are close to getting the Dutch player on loan, per Football Italia. The 28-year-old has already been sent on loan to Fulham, where he did not impress at all.

Rodrigo Taddei

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    Gregorio Borgia/Associated Press

    Rodrigo Taddei is a player who actually thrived in almost every position at Roma, playing more than 350 times for the Giallorossi.

    He was the ultimate utility man, but last year he largely spent his time on the bench as an unused substitute.

    Valencia and Bayer Leverkusen have both been linked to the 34-year-old midfielder/full-back/winger. CalcioNews24 suggests that Roma president James Pallotta does not see Taddei in his plans, so the Brazilian's future is likely elsewhere.