It’s not about the money, money, money

It seems that a particular topic of debate just won’t go away. Transfer fees. 

To begin with, there was the extraordinary £49 million that Manchester City paid Liverpool for Raheem Sterling in July. City followed that up by breaking their transfer record for the second time in a matter of months when Kevin De Bruyne signed from Wolfsburg for a reported £55 million. Over £100 million for two players. 

Ok. Money in football isn’t a new thing. Inflated transfer fees have been around for a long time. But can they ever be justified? Do clubs and their owners really need to go out and spend tens of millions on just one player? 

This summer has seen a mix of older, experienced players and upcoming younger talents move club for free.. for no cost.. for nothing. So many so, that it’s possible to form an entire squad that would arguably be good enough to compete at the very highest level.

Free Transfers

Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo moved to MLS sides LA Galaxy and New York City. Barcelona’s Xavi opted to join Qatar side Al-Gadd, while Robinho made a surprise switch from AC Milan to Chinese outfit GZ Evergrande.

Liverpool were the most active English side in the free transfer market as two left Anfield in the form of Gerrard and right-back Glen Johnson, the former staying in the Premier League, joining Stoke City. Coming in were James Milner from Manchester City and Burnley’s Danny Ings. 

Manchester City allowed both Milner and Micah Richards to move on, the latter switching to Aston Villa.

City’s neighbours, Manchester United, brought in Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero from Samporia while midfielder Tom Cleverley joined Everton after a short loan spell at Aston Villa.  

You don’t need to be Sheikh Mansour or Roman Abramovich to build your fantasy football dream team, spending hundreds of millions in the process. You can do it on a shoestring. Well, actually less than a shoestring. 

We’ve compiled a squad of 23 players. It includes their former club alongside their new club or in Ron Vlaar’s case, still without a club. Their current market values as provided by, ages, preferred positions and the alternative positions they can play. 


Iker Casillas 

Real Madrid to FC Porto – MV £4.2m – Age 34


Fiorentina to Juventus – MV £6.3m – Age 26

Sergio Romero 

Sampdoria to Manchester United – MV £3.5m – Age 28


Maxi Pereira 

Benfica to FC Porto – MV £5.6m – Age 31 – Right-Back (Right Midfield)

Glen Johnson 

Liverpool to Stoke City – MV £4.9m – Age 31 – Right-Back (Left-Back) 

Micah Richards 

Manchester City to Aston Villa – MV £3.85m – Age 27 – Right-Back (Centre-Back)

Ron Vlaar 

Aston Villa (unattached) – MV £4.2m – Age 30 – Centre-Back

Niklas Moisander 

AFC Ajax to Sampdoria – MV £3.5m – Age 29 – Centre-Back (Left-Back)

Emiliano Insua 

Atletico Madrid to VfB Stuttgart – MV £2.8m – Age 26 – Left-Back (Left Wing/Centre-Back)

Christian Fuchs 

FC Schalke 04 to Leicester City – MV £2.1m – Age 29 – Left-Back (Left Midfield)


James Milner

Manchester City to Liverpool – MV £9.8m – Age 29 – Right Midfield (Central Midfield/Left Midfield)

Sami Khedira  

Real Madrid to Juventus – MV £12.6m – Age 28 – Defensive Midfield (Central Midfield)

Andrea Pirlo 

Juventus to New York City – MV £0.7m – Age 36 – Defensive Midfield (Central Midfield/Attacking Midfield)

Steven Gerrard 

Liverpool to LA Galaxy – MV £2.8m – Age 35 – Central Midfield (Attacking Midfield/Defensive Midfield)

Tom Cleverley 

Manchester United to Everton – MV £6.3m – Age 26 – Central Midfield (Left Midfield/Right Midfield) 


FC Barcelona to Al-Gadd – MV £3.5m – Age 35 – Central Midfield (Attacking Midfield)

Evgen Konoplyanka 

Dnipropetrovsk to Sevilla – MV £14m – Age 25 – Left Wing (Right Wing/Secondary Striker)

Andre Ayew 

Marseille to Swansea City – MV £9.1m – Age 25 – Left Wing (Attacking Midfield/Central Midfield)



AC Milan to GZ Evergrande – MV £4.2m – Age 31 – Left Wing (Attacking Midfield/Secondary Striker)

Danny Ings 

Burnley to Liverpool – MV £8.4m – Age 23 – Centre Forward (Left WIng/Secondary Striker)

Samuel Eto’o 

Sampdoria to Antalyaspor – MV £1.4m – Age 34 – Centre Forward (Secondary Striker/Right Wing)

Andre-Pierre Gignac 

Marseille to Tigres – MV £7m – Age 29 – Centre Forward (Left Wing)

Bakary Sako 

Wolves to Crystal Palace – MV £2.9m – Age 27 – Left Wing (Right Wing/Secondary Striker)

Players that failed to make the squad include Didier Drogba, Joey Barton, Yoann Gourcuff, Ronaldinho and Alberto Aquilani.

Fantasy Football game have put together their chosen XI from the 23 man squad. The average age of the side is 30. Its total market value comes in at £67.55m, its actual cost of course, is free.

Think you could pick a better team? 

Who would make your Free Transfer XI from the 23 man squad? 

Oulala is a European Fantasy Football game powered by Opta. It features the top five European Leagues, a scoring matrix made up of 70 different criteria, live points updates and live management options. Fantasy Football has never been so real. You can play for free or for real cash daily when the monetized game is launched on Friday 11th September. Visit to find out more.