Unless you’re managing a club with cash to burn, looking for bargain transfers is a staple of playing any Football Manager game.

Every year, die-hard managers like myself get on the web ahead of the game’s launch to see which potential deals to watch out for, and it’s no different this time.

Not everyone can afford the best FM23 wonderkids, at least not from the start.

When it comes to free transfers especially, timing is key because immediately you begin the game, other clubs can also scout these players and sign them before you do. The importance of knowing which players to look for ahead of time cannot be overstated.

I’ve dug deep to find the best free transfers in Football Manager 23.

Let’s get into it!

Oscar Linner

Position: GK

If you’re on the hunt for a free-agent goalkeeper in FM23, you should know straight off the bat that your options are limited.

However, Oscar Linner offers some value in that department, and he’s still pretty young for a goalkeeper, so there is some room for further improvement.

The 25-year-old Swede goalie left Arminia Bielefield at the end of the 21/22 season, so he is arguably the best free agent in FM23 in his position.

Linner’s key strength is his Jumping Reach, but he has strong stats in the basic stopper areas such as Reflexes and Handling too.

Mateo Musacchio

Musacchio fm23

Position: DC

Mateo Musacchio was one of the best free transfers around when FM22 was launched, and he remains without a club in FM23.

At 32 years old, he’s not the youngest player around, but the position that he plays quells any worries about age. This man still has at least a few years of good football left in him.

He also brings bags of experience to the dressing room with an impressive career that boasts stints at clubs such as Villarreal, AC Milan, and Lazio.

Musacchio’s key strengths lie in his mental attributes which are crucial in any defense line, especially if the players around him are young and/or inexperienced.

Nikola Maksimovic

Maksimovic fm23

Position: DC

If you’re looking for a center-back that has a more recent history of playing football at the top level than Musacchio does, then you may also consider Nikola Maksimovic.

Maksimovic left Genoa at the beginning of the 22/23 season, and he’s only 30 years old. Standing 193cm tall, not many strikers will win headers against this guy.

In fact, Jumping is his key strength in FM23, and he uses that advantage well alongside his equally strong Bravery attribute to go for every aerial duel.

You can’t go wrong with an old-fashioned option in that CB spot, so Maksimovic should be an absolute steal of a free transfer in FM23.

Santiago Arias

Position: D/WB (R)

Santiago Arias has finally cut ties with Atletico Madrid after four years of service littered with a couple of loan deals in Germany and Spain.

The club ran down his contract and let him go for free, but their loss could be your gain as he is one of the best free agents you can get in FM23.

Arias is 30 years old, so there may be some worries over his physical ability down that right flank. However, his stats in that area are still solid enough to offer a substantial amount of quality for a year or two.

This makes him a great option as a stop-gap if you’re short of alternatives in that position. He could even be an important player if you’re managing a smaller club.

Danny Rose

Rose fm23

Position: D/WB (L)

If you’re familiar with European football, then you should be familiar with Danny Rose for the many years he spent running up and down the left flank for Tottenham Hotspur.

Things did not work out quite well when he left the club for Watford, and he was released on a free transfer at the end of the 21/22 season at the age of 32.

In FM23, Rose is no longer the athletic beast that he used to be, but he has bags of experience, a determined personality, and solid mental attributes.

He’s still a good defender, and arguably the most valuable option at left-back when it comes to the best free transfers in FM23.

Nemanja Radoja

Position: DM, MC

Radoja is not a household name by any means, and the biggest clubs that he’s played for are the likes of Levante and Celta Vigo.

However, his stats in FM23 suggest that there is a solid player in there, and he can be really useful for you in the middle of the park if you’re looking for someone to break up play.

Radoja is 29 years old, which is not young but not old either. He’s not the quickest off the mark, but he has great positioning and compliments that with solid passing, work rate, and strength.

Those stats are the makings of a good defensive midfielder, so you can take a punt on this guy too.

Danny Drinkwater

Drinkwater fm23

Position: DM, MC

Danny Drinkwater might just be one of the worst signings in the history of Chelsea Football Club, but FM is not exactly real life, and I’m thankful for that.

After the expiry of his contract with the London club at the end of last season, Drinkwater has a chance to redeem himself and show that he can be a serious footballer once again. Will you give him that opportunity?

The points in his favor include solid stats across the board with aerial ability being the only glaring weakness.

He is 32 years old too, so this is by no means a long-term solution.

However, Drinkwater still has at least one good year of strong service in him as a deep-lying playmaker in a midfield that has more mobile players around him. In that role, he is one of the best free agents in FM23.

Fabio Martins

Position: AM (RL)

Fabio Martins is a technical player with lots of flair and a decent amount of pace.

The Portuguese winger is firmly right-footed, so I would suggest using him as a wide left player that cuts in as he doesn’t have the pace to burn defenders very often on the right.

He’s 28 at the start of the season if you’re playing in one of the top leagues, so you can still squeeze a few years from him.

There’s not a lot of room for improvement, but I would argue that what you get is good enough not to worry too much about that.

Gaston Ramirez

Gaston Ramirez fm23

Position: M/AM (C)

After a career that spanned stints across Uruguay, Italy, and England, Gaston Ramirez is available as a free transfer in FM23.

It’s not the first time he’ll be too, as he was also one of the better free agents in FM22. At 31 years of age, he still has solid stats across board, and his physicals haven’t taken so much of a hit to make him unusable.

Ramirez’s best positions are in the center of the pitch as a central midfielder or an attacking midfielder, but he can also operate on either flank and even up front as the main striker.

That versatility alone is enough reason to make the Uruguayan a tasty prospect to pick up for free, and those technical attributes certainly help his cause too.

If you’re looking for a traditional playmaker type that has all the basics locked down and can operate in the hole that connects your midfield with your attack, then you can’t do much better than Gaston Ramirez in the FM23 free agent market.

Simone Zaza

Position: ST

Simone Zaza is another fairly high-profile free agent in FM23 that still has quite a bit to offer.

He is a traditional striker with well-rounded physical attributes, and solid finishing to get on the end of chances created by your team.

Zaza is left-footed and has a powerful shot in him, and you could probably form a partnership between him and Ramirez where the latter functions as the creator-in-chief just behind the big forward.

Zaza’s size helps with his ability in the air, and that can be useful if you have runners such as Fabio Martins around him on the attack.

Honorable Mentions

Mangala FM23

The following players just missed out on a spot among the ten best free agents in FM23, but they’re also solid options if you want more freebies.

  • Eliaquim Mangala: 31-year-old DC from France
  • Jetro Willems: 28-year-old LB/LWB from Netherlands
  • Xeka: 27-year-old MC from Portugal
  • Tom Carroll: 30-year-old MC from England
  • Pierre-Michel Lasogga: 30-year-old ST from Germany

So, here’s a full list of the best free agents in FM23, including these honorable mentions:

NameAgeKey Position(s)
Oscar Linner25GK
Matteo Musacchio32DC
Nikola Maksimovic30DC
Eliaquim Mangala31DC
Danny Rose32D/WB (L)
Jetro Willems28D/WB (L)
Santiago Arias30D/WB (R)
Nemanja Radoja29MC
Tom Carroll30MC
Danny Drinkwater32MC
Fabio Martins28AM (RL)
Josip Ilicic33AM (C), ST (C)
Simone Zaza31ST
Pierre-Michel Lasogga30ST

The Best Bosman Transfers in FM23

Bosman transfers fm23

While you’re picking up the best FM23 free agents at the beginning of the game, you should also keep an eye out for players that have expiring contracts.

The Bosman ruling allows these players in the EU to move to another club at the end of their contracts, and you can even sign pre-contract agreements with them in January – six months ahead of schedule.

In FM23, there are many exciting players with expiring contracts and if you manage to sign a couple of them as free agents, you can expect a lot of value in return.

I have compiled lists of the best players from Europe’s top five leagues that you can sign on a Bosman transfer a year into the game, as long as they don’t sign new contracts.

When you scout these players, make sure to add them to a shortlist that you can easily refer to when the time comes to make a move.

Shortlisting ensures that you’re in the loop if other clubs begin to circle around your targets, or if they sign new contracts with the current club.

You can attempt to unsettle the players by speaking openly about your interest in the media to reduce the chances of them accepting a new contract from the current club or joining another club.

English Premier League

NameAgeKey Position(s)Current Club
David de Gea31GKManchester United
Caglar Soyuncu26DCLeicester City
Luke Shaw27D/WB (L)Manchester United
Axel Tuanzebe24DCManchester United
Diogo Dalot23D/WB (R)Manchester United
Nelson Semedo28D/WB (R)Wolverhampton Wanderers
Vladimir Coufal30D/WB (R)West Ham
N’Golo Kante31DM, MCChelsea
Jorginho30DM, MCChelsea
Naby Keita27DM, MCLiverpool
Fred29MCManchester United
Ilkay Gundogan31MCManchester City
Youri Tielemans25MCLeicester City
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain29MCLiverpool
Alexis MacAllister23AMCBrighton
Jesse Lingard29AM (LC)Nottingham Forest
Leandro Trossard27ML, AM (LC)Brighton & Hove Albion
Manuel Lanzini29M/AMCWest Ham
Adama Traore26M/AM (R)Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wilfried Zaha29M (R), AM (RL), ST (C)Crystal Palace
Marcus Rashford24AM (L)Manchester United
Roberto Firmino31AM (C), ST (C)Liverpool
Cristiano Ronaldo37AM (L), ST (C)Manchester United

Serie A

NameAgeKey Position(s)Current Club
Chris Smalling32DCA.S Roma
Milan Skriniar27DCInter
Stefan de Vrij30DCInter
Matteo Darmian32D/WB (R)Inter
Alex Sandro31D/WB (L)Juventus
Danilo D’Ambrosio34D (RC)/WB (R)Inter
Juan Cuadrado34D/WB/M (R)Juventus
Adrien Rabiot27DM, M (LC)Juventus
Nemanja Matic34DMA.S Roma
Ruslan Malinovsky29M/AM (C)Atalanta
Roberto Gagliardini28MCInter
Roberto Pereyra31M/AM (C)Udinese
Stephan El Shaarawy29M/AM (L)A.S Roma
Pedro35AM (RL)SS Lazio
Angel di Maria34AM (RLC)Juventus
Zlatan Ibrahimovic41STA.C Milan
Edin Dzeko36STInter
Luis Muriel31AM (L), ST (C)Atalanta
Andrea Belotti28STA.S Roma
Olivier Giroud36STA.C Milan

La Liga

NameAgeKey Position(s)Current Club
Inigo Martinez31DCAthletic Bilbao
Nacho Fernandez32D (RC)Real Madrid
Felipe33DCAtletico Madrid
Raul Albiol37DCVillarreal
Marcos Alonso31D/WB (L)Barcelona
Sergi Roberto30D/WB (R), DM, M (C)Barcelona
Hector Bellerin27D/WB (R)Barcelona
Sergio Busquets34DMBarcelona
Axel Witsel33DM, M (C)Atletico Madrid
Toni Kroos32MCReal Madrid
Luka Modric37MCReal Madrid
Thomas Lemar26M (L), AM (LC)Atletico Madrid
Dani Ceballos26M/AM (C)Real Madrid
David Silva36AMCReal Sociedad
Marco Asensio26AM (RLC)Real Madrid
Memphis Depay28AM (LC), ST (C)Barcelona
Karim Benzema34STReal Madrid
Mariano Diaz29STReal Madrid

German Bundesliga

NameAgeKey Position(s)Current Club
Yan Sommer33GKGladbach
Evan N’Dicka23DCFrankfurt
Mats Hummels33DCBorussia Dortmund
Raphael Guerreiro28D/WB/M (L)Borussia Dortmund
Konrad Laimer25MCR.B Leipzig
Daichi Kamada26AM (C), ST (C)Frankfurt
Josip Brekalo24AM (RL)Wolfsburg
Marcus Thuram25AM (L), ST (C)Gladbach
Youssoufa Moukoko17ST (C)Borussia Dortmund
Marco Reus33AM (LC)Borussia Dortmund

Ligue 1

NameAgeKey Position(s)Current Club
Sergio Ramos36DCP.S.G
Jerome Boateng34DCLyon
Sead Kolasinac29D/WB (L)Marseille
Morgan Schneiderlin32DMNice
Houssem Aouar24MCLyon
Ross Barkley28M/AM (C)Nice
Alexis Sanchez33STMarseille
Moussa Dembele26STLyon
Lionel Messi35AM (R), ST (C)P.S.G

Final Words

There you go! Ten of the best FM23 free transfers, including a few honorable mentions, and loads of players across Europe that are potentially available for a Bosman move.

These transfers can come in pretty handy if you’re doing an FM23 challenge save.

With the guide, you should be sorted for the early stages of the game, long enough to get your affairs in order to create a more long-term plan for your club. While you’re doing that, be sure to check out this detailed FM23 scouting guide to help you along the way.

Best of luck!