With the season slowly winding down, clubs will already think about how they will strengthen their squads in the summer. A lot of money will be spent but a lot of players’ contracts will also run down. Here are five players that will be available on a free and could add great value to teams around the league.
Mike Hanke – Borussia Mönchengladbach
Confirmed in the last few hours, Mike Hanke will not be renewing his contract with Die Fohlen and will be moving on in the summer. It hasn’t been a great year for Hanke this season in terms of goals or starts, only 2 in 8 Bundesliga starts and 13 appearances off the bench. It’s clear that he’s behind the misfiring Luuk de Jong in the pecking order for Lucien Favre and the former Schalke, Wolfsburg and Hannover man will be seeking his fortunes elsewhere for the 2013/2014 season. Hanke is a target man with excellent heading skills that allows other strikers to play off him, and could well benefit clubs who enjoy a wide style of play and have good crossers of the ball and attacking midfielders who enjoy pushing up. At 29 years of age, Hanke is still at a good age for a striker and could do a job if the situation is right. On a free transfer, he shouldn’t be short of suitors, especially after the successful 2011/2012 season where he showed what he’s capable of.
Potential clubs: Eintracht Frankfurt, Fortuna Düsseldorf, Hertha Berlin, Hannover 96.
Andreas Ivanschitz – Mainz 05
It’s been a decent season so far for the Austrian playmaker as Mainz are flirting with Europa League and even Champions League spots at the time of writing. Ivanschitz has played in all but one of the games and started all but two, getting 5 goals and 5 assists in the process, accounting for a third of the total of his team’s goals in the Bundesliga. His left foot is always a threat from set pieces and his vision to create goals and assists is definitely a quality that some other Bundesliga sides could use. Ivanschitz still hasn’t signed a contract extension with Mainz and the longer that it goes on, the less likely it looks that he will sign an extension. On the back of a season like this, which has been very good so far and can get even better, Ivanschitz could attract clubs in need of a playmaker and at 29 still has a few years left in him in order to get his last big contract.
Potential clubs: Stuttgart, Werder Bremen, abroad.
Konstantin Rausch – Hannover 96
Hannover have allegedly offered Rausch a contract but the 23-year old Hannover youth product who has played for Germany at U17, U19 and U21 level is stalling on it. Rausch is a left-sided player who can play at full-back, wing-back or even left midfield and has got plenty of quality going forward. A regular starter for Hannover, Rausch has amassed almost 150 first-team Bundesliga appearances for Die Roten since 2008 and his youth and experience combined make him an attractive acquisition for any team. Left-back is generally a position that is hard finding a replacement for so Rausch’s stalling on the new contract could be because he knows he could be at a bigger club with a bigger salary come August.
Potential clubs: VfL Wolfsburg, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Schalke 04
Daniel Schwaab – Bayer Leverkusen
Daniel Schwaab is a highly versatile defender who can play anywhere in defence but does so more comfortably on the right side. He started his career at Freiburg and played for Germany U17, U19 and U21, being part of the German squad that won the U21 European Championships in 2009. In 2009 he moved to Bayer Leverkusen, establishing himself at left-back. This season, Schwaab has been demoted to the bench due to the excellent form of Dani Carvajal and suffered an ankle ligament injury in October which kept him out until the new year. It seems that now Schwaab’s role will be to cover for any suspended/injured defender and with no talks of an extension just yet, the Waldheim-born defender might be looking away from the BayArena for first team football next season. With his versatility and a free transfer, he will be one of the most attractive options of the free transfer market this summer.
Possible clubs: Schalke, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Hannover 96
Michael Rensing – Bayer Leverkusen
Not much has gone Rensing’s way since leaving Bayern München. Arriving in Köln in the winter of 2010, he spent 18 months at the RheinEnergieStadion that culminated in relegation last season. This season he was signed by Bayer Leverkusen as a backup to Bernd Leno on a 12-month contract, which seems that it won’t be renewed. Rensing is not a bad goalkeeper by any means and whilst he might not be of enough quality to play between the sticks for a top 4 club, he is still capable of doing a job for a team a bit further down the table. At 28 years old, he’s still young for a goalkeeper but has the experience of having played at the top and having over 100 Bundesliga appearances.
Possible teams: Borussia Mönchengladbach, Mainz 05, Nürnberg