Football Manager 2024 isn’t all penny pinching economics—there’s formations to tweak and shout at, heatmaps and data analysis to pretend to understand, and much more. But good footballers are the most expensive commodity in the world, and if you want to win games, you’re going to need some of them. Ideally, at least eleven.
The best way to navigate that hurdle is scouring the free transfer market. These are players whose contracts have expired for various reasons—often they’re established players of advancing years at clubs who’d rather be spending their wages on youth. There might also be simulated disputes between agents and clubs leading to free agency, or the player may have fallen out with the rest of the dressing room and simply doesn’t want to agree new terms.
That’s where you swoop in and bag a bargain. Be advised that although you’re not giving their team a transfer fee when you pick up a free agent, you’ll still be adding to your club’s wage bill, and shelling out on sign-on fees for both player and agent, depending on how your negotiations go. So it’s cheaper than meeting a La Liga player’s minimum fee release clause, but you still need money in the bank to get a free transfer over the line.
Below are the 10 best free agents by current and potential ability, as of the beginning of the 2023-24 season in a new game of FM24.
FM24 best free agents
Position: AMLCNationality: EnglishAge: 30
Most recently at Nottingham Forest, Lingard’s used to a Premier League salary, but not the eye-watering wages he’ll have been on at Man Utd a couple of seasons ago. Estimated wage expectations are between £18K-£24K/week, depending on the club that approaches him.
Position: AMCNationality: ArgentinianAge: 34
In reality, the veteran PSG attacking midfielder has joined Qatar SC, but at the start of your first season in FM24 Pastore’s up for grabs. Expect his wages to be high though—having had such a long stint at the questionably funded French capital club, he’s got a taste for the finer things.
Position: StrikerNationality: ItalianAge: 40
Fans of discerning taste will remember Mr Dream Goal for his incredible strike against Slovakia in the 2010 World Cup. Serie A fans will know him as Eta Beta, the evergreen striker whose successful spells at Napoli, Juve and Udinese placed him in the league’s pantheon. He is, however, quite old now. You’ve got one decent season out of him tops before he retires.
Position: FCNationality: BrazilianAge: 24
Now we’re talking. A forward who’s only 24, with much more football left in his legs and a huge amount of talent. He’s been without a club since April 2023 though—worth a risk.
Position: AMRNationality: ArgentinianAge: 34
Perotti had long spells at Sevilla and Roma and now finds himself without a contract heading into the 2023-24 season. At 34, his pace has dropped off significantly but he makes up for it with fantastic technique, dribbling and passing. If you’re short on the right side, he can still do a job for you even at the top level.
Position: MC/AMCNationality: SpanishAge: 30
The bad news is, Campana’s out for 5-6 months with damaged cruciate ligaments at the start of the game and Levante obviously don’t want him on their wage bill during that time. The good news is that at 30, he’s still got several seasons of good football in him at the MC position after he returns from injury. And you get to be a hero by reviving his career.
David de Gea
Position: GKNationality: SpanishAge: 32
The longtime Man Utd servant de Gea begins 2023-24 out of contract. That’s an incredible opportunity to pick up one of the most renowned keepers in world football. His wage demands will be substantial, though—when we reached out as Real Madrid he wouldn’t even talk to us. Not because of the Madrid rivalry, but because he didn’t believe we had the financial resources to make a deal work. At REAL MADRID. Yikes.
Position: StrikerNationality: ArgentinianAge: 28
Fernandez isn’t a big name in Europe, having made just seven loan appearances for FC Metz in his career in European football, but he’s bounced around South America and recorded a decent strike rate over his career. He’s not the next Messi, but for top teams he’s a worthwhile backup striker and for lower league sides he’s a revelation.
Position: AMRNationality: UkranianAge: 35
Brazilian-born Marlos has been earning his trade in the Ukrainian league for long enough now that he’s a naturalised Ukrainian. And while 35’s on the old side for a winger, his stats really hold up. Play him in a role that doesn’t require much pace and you’ve got a great wide distributor for mid-table top division sides.
Position: DCNationality: GermanAge: 31
At times he looked like the second coming of Christoph Metzelder for Arsenal, and at times he… didn’t. He’s a World Cup winner, though, and at 31 his experience and work rate will yield strong performances even in top division sides.