They took the world by storm at the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup™ and now new Wellington Phoenix head coach Ufuk Talay wants to build his squad around New Zealand’s brightest talents.
The Kiwis surprised many with a series of quality displays, beating Norway and Honduras before going out on penalties to Colombia in the Round of 16.
SIGNING NEWS: Barbarouses joins Sydney FC from Big Blue rivals Victory
REMEMBER WHEN: Your club's biggest story of 2018/19
Libby Cacace, Sarpreet Singh and Callan Elliot are already well embedded in the Nix set-up, with Talay set to go on another youth-focused recruiting drive.
Stuff NZ are reporting that academy players Ben Waine and Gianni Strensness will be heavily involved in the squad come next season and that Wellington are locked in discussions to bring Under-20s captain Joe Bell to the club.
“I thought they did very well and I congratulate [coach] Des [Buckingham] on their success,” Talay said.
“It was disappointing the way they bowed out of the tournament but that's football sometimes.
“But there's some talented players there and there's a few boys we are speaking to, and there are ongoing discussions with a few players that I'd like to bring to Wellington Phoenix.”
Could ‘marquee’ Kosta fall inside Sydney’s cap?
When the news broke that long-time Melbourne Victory forward Kosta Barbarouses had signed for arch rivals Sydney FC there were shocks from both sets of supporters.
But there could be another twist in the tale, one that will have Sky Blues fans licking their lips.
The New Zealand international’s three-year deal with the Hyundai A-League Champions was assumed to be a marquee one given his 15-goal haul last season.
But according to the Sydney Morning Herald, it’s looking increasingly likely the 29-year old will fit inside Sydney’s salary cap.
The Herald are reporting that Barbarouses will earn up to $750,000 per year in the Harbour City, a figure that instantly commands marquee status.
However, with the release of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement last week, a number of Sydney’s long-serving players will be eligible for some of their salaries to fall outside the cap.
Should Barbarouses have his entire salary counted within the new $3.2 million cap then the Sky Blues will still have two marquee slots to fill.
Brattan to re-invigorate Western Sydney Wanderers’ midfield
There’s change afoot in the West and Markus Babbel’s Wanderers revolution could be about to land a potential big fish.
According to reports, off-contract midfielder Luke Brattan is currently weighing up his options after ending his deal with English Premier League champions Manchester City.
The 29-year old has spent the last three seasons on loan to sister club Melbourne City and it is reported that, while he has a contract offer from the Melburnians on the table, other clubs are circling.
One such is Western Sydney with The World Game reporting that Babbel is keen to bring Brattan on board to fill the creative void vacated by Alexander Baumjohann.
They may have to fight off rivals Sydney FC however in addition to threats from the K-League, especially if Josh Brillante doesn't re-sign with the Sky Blues.