Bargains in the free agent market

Clarence Seedorf and Patrick Kluivert named their first Cameroon squad this week after being appointed as the country’s managerial dream duo this month.

Meanwhile, Ruud van Nistelrooy is running PSV’s youth team and Alessandro Nesta is in charge of Perugia. When Yaya Touré reaches the current age of all those former players – 42 – he will hang up his boots. Until then, Touré is available for hire.

That, at any rate, was what his agent, Dimitri Seluk, indicated this summer, claiming that was partly why Touré wore the No 42 shirt during his time at Manchester City. Eight glorious years those were, during which Touré established himself as one of the greatest midfielders ever to illuminate the Premier League, along with the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, both of whom accepted managerial jobs before even starting their fifth decade. Quitters.

Seluk spouts large quantities of bilge, in fairness. But let us hope that he and his client get their wish on this one because who would not want to see a talent like Touré, just 35, defy the years? Seluk even suggested his man could carry on influencing matches at the very top for at least another three seasons, a claim not especially well supported by the evidence of the Ivorian’s last season at City.

Apparently Seluk has so far been unable to convert elite clubs to his faith in Touré’s imperishability because no Premier League side has seen fit to employ him this summer, not even the endlessly gullible West Ham. No other European club has been won over yet, either, with reports in Spain claiming this week that Barcelona have politely declined. But, of course, there is still time because Touré is not contracted to anyone so can join whenever suits. He is perhaps the most tempting of the array of free agents that could yet enhance your club’s squad.

Or how about Hatem Ben Arfa? Now there is a player who did arouse West Ham’s interest, only for the club to be rebuffed, reportedly, because Ben Arfa hoped to secure a move to Lyon as the replacement for Nabil Fekir. But Lyon may not lose their talisman, after all, so the 31-year-old must be considering other options as he seeks another fresh start in his career, his time at Paris Saint-Germain having ended unhappily, as did stints at some other clubs.

His last competitive action for PSG before becoming embroiled in a dispute with the club was as an 88th-minute substitute in March 2017. He may come with baggage but his talent is special and there will no doubt be many managers who think they can help him fulfil it, as Claude Puel did after picking him up for free when he was released by Newcastle in 2015. The brilliance he showcased at Nice over the following year led PSG to sign him and, although it has hardly been seen since, it still lurks in there somewhere.

Others free to offer their services to others include former West Brom players Youssouf Mulumbu and Victor Anichebe, 30, who can take calls after a stint playing in the Chinese second tier. There are lower-league English clubs who could do worse than look at him.

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