Nigel Reo-Coker - Football's most talked about free agent

Nigel Reo-Coker is still without a club, but has been linked with Fulham, Charlton Athletic, and even Fiorentina, it's a far cry from being tipped to join Arsenal by Ian Wright shortly over a year ago.

Ian Wright is one of football's most enthusiastic pundits, but he does get it wrong at times. One of his knee jerk reactions after Aston Villa beat Arsenal at the end of the 2010/11 season was to demand via his newspaper column in The Sun that Arsene Wenger snaps up Nigel Reo-Coker.

Wenger ignored his advice, and the midfielder signed a one year deal with Bolton, but left the club this year after their relegation, obviously hoping for a better opportunity than playing in the Championship. So far it is yet to arrive.

As October approaches, Nigel Reo-Coker is still without a club, at the age of 28 it is not a good situation for him to be in, for he should be at the peak of his career, not scratching around searching for an employer. Aston Villa paid £8.5 million for him in 2007 and he was even linked with Manchester United a year earlier, so it is fair to say he has been on a downwards spiral as of late.

Nevertheless he remains one of the more attractive free agents on the market to clubs, a former England under-21 international, and veteran of the Premier League and the Championship, where he played with West Ham.

Through this month he has been arguably the most talked about free agent, linked with a number of moves. Most recently he has been linked with Fulham, as a replacement for Mahamadou Diarra who has suffered a season ending injury.

Reo-Coker was first discussed as a Fulham target in early August, but nothing materialised. Now it seems they are likely to step up their pursuit, according to one report. Yet only last week it was reported he was 'on the verge' of signing for Charlton.

The source being the same - The Daily Mail- so Fulham fans should certainly take the link with a pinch of salt. The midfielder is keen on a move to the Premier League, which could be why he may have turned down the Addicks if approached, but if a move to Craven Cottage does not materialise he will have to consider the possibility.

Last month he was even suggested as a possible target for Fiorentina in Serie A, potentially a dream move for the player, but one which did not come off. An Aston Villa supporter even wrote into the Birmingham Mail this week urging the club bring him back to Villa Park.

So Reo-Coker should take solace that while he is out of sight for now, he is certainly not out of mind. While he remains the subject of discussion, there is hope that he may just secure a move to the Premier League after all, but if it doesn't happen by the end of the month, he would be advised to take whatever he can get in the Championship, because months without playing will only make him more unattractive to the top sides in the long run.

image: © shaun_staff

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch