The 7 top free transfer targets from the EPL
It's that time of the year again.
The world will soon be fixated on Brazil for the upcoming World Cup, but many football fans will be eagerly lapping up all the hottest gossip coming out of the transfer market.
While big-money signings are guaranteed to set pulses racing, several big names from the English Premier League will be available for nothing with their contracts winding down.
As it is, Inter Milan have gotten lucky by snapping up Manchester United's defensive rock and captain Nemanja Vidic.
Read on for the top seven free agents from the EPL who will be vigorously courted by football clubs far and wide over the summer.
1) Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United
His best years might be behind him due to age and injury, but Ferdinand, a £30 million signing from Leeds United in 2002, is proven Premier League quality after nearly 20 years in the English top flight.
Despite interim manager Ryan Giggs' plea to keep the classy defender at the club, Ferdinand was reportedly informed in the dressing room after Manchester United's final game of the season at Southampton that his services were no longer required - an exit that was far from ideal for the West Ham youth product after 12 sterling years of service at Old Trafford.
The 35-year-old ex-England international could have a point to prove next season and his experience will surely be a boost for any side that signs him.
2) Samuel Eto'o, Chelsea
While not a regular feature in Chelsea's march to third, Eto'o, 33, was hugely effective in the big matches he was called upon by Jose Mourinho.
The former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker was on target against Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal while he also notched a memorable hat-trick against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
3) Bacary Sagna, Arsenal
He might be a little old for the Arsenal scheme of things, but at 31, Sagna possesses all the attributes to be a complete full-back in today's game.
Strong, athletic and comfortable defending as he is attacking, the Frenchman still has a number of years left in his tank to play at the highest level.
Reportedly frustrated at the club's earlier reluctance to hand him a long-term deal and a six-figure salary, Sagna will face no shortage of top suitors should he choose to end his seven-year association with trh Gunners.
4) Gareth Barry, Manchester City
It looked as if the writing was on the wall for the former Aston Villa man when he was shipped out on loan to Everton after Manchester City signed Brazil midfielder Fernandinho for big money from Shakhtar Donetsk.
Under Roberto Martinez, however, Barry has been a player rejuvenated as his all-action displays helped the Toffees blaze their way to fifth spot.
While Martinez is understandably keen to hold on to him, the 33-year-old will definitely attract interest from teams looking for an experienced midfield lynchpin.
5) Patrice Evra, Manchester United
After overcoming a difficult start to life at Old Trafford following his transfer from Monaco in 2006, Evra has established himself as one of the EPL's finest left-backs with his trademark overlapping runs.
While his defensive capabilities have been called into question during Manchester United's tumultuous season, the Frenchman still has time on his side at 32. He even had Red Devils fans dreaming of the Champions League semi-final when he scored this screamer against Bayern Munich.
Even though the club are reportedly in talks to sign Southampton's Luke Shaw for £27m as his replacement, United fans will surely miss Evra should he opt to continue his career elsewhere.
6) Ashley Cole, Chelsea
What were the odds of the two best left-backs in the EPL becoming available as free agents in one summer?
Even though he was ousted by an excellent Cesar Azpilicueta at Chelsea this season, Cole didn't put a foot wrong whenever called upon by Mourinho.
A firm fixture in the Premier League since his breakthrough at Arsenal, the 33-year-old will have no trouble finding a new life after Stamford Bridge.
7) Sebastian Larsson, Sunderland
A product of Arsenal's academy, Larsson has consistently been among the highlight reels wherever he goes because of his set-piece prowess and penchant for scoring spectacular goals.
While his only goal this season wasn't as spectacular as previous ones, the Swedish midfielder's strike against Manchester United gave Sunderland their first win at Old Trafford since 1968 as well as three crucial points that saved the Black Cats from relegation.