My only concern with not getting free players is 2 things
1. Who will we bring in to make the team better with the same money
2. We dont know if the player will flop or not and the risk is much lower for free.
A few examples
1. Costa-40 mil-Good player and was for it at the time but has been injured. He is on high wages and also transfer fee. Hasnt made a huge impact
Berna-Same type situation
Matuidi-20 mil and somewhat high wages
Free players-Ramsey and Rabiot- Good players with high potential both on high wages but free- Both could break into our starting 11. Are they world beaters? Absolutely not
Khedira-Free-brought us good performances on the field but not a world beater by any stretch and is now past it
Pirlo,Coman,Pogba,Llorente,Alves,Barza were all good-incredible freebies
Im not so sure the freebie purchase is our issue but where we spend the big money and why. Lets say we had 75-80 to spend. Its tough to think of 3 players to bring in that have the potential impact of Ramsey,Rabiot and MDL. All are young and if 1 of them turns our great,one rotational and the other we cut for free its worth it because there isnt much money tied up. We bitch about Can and act like if we didnt get him we would have gotten some great player in his place. Thats laughable
I get what you are saying but can you name me 2 players that are better than Eriksen in his position right now?? Free transfer or not there is no denying that he will improve our midfield by a huge margin and finally we'll have a proper link midfield-attack and be less predictable.
If a player has no place to go, then yes, you have to pay him so that he agrees to terminate the contract. Otherwise he'll be more than happy to stay in a competitive team with the wages he's being paid.
That’s when you unilaterally terminate his contract, when you do it by mutual consent you just free him from his contract to negotiate the best wages he can get from other clubs, we did it with Mandzu, Marchisio and Llorente for example