Cahill analysis: How will City use Cahill?

Melbourne City coach John van 't Schip is convinced Tim Cahill can adapt to his team's style.

But it remains to be seen how the Caltex Socceroos forward will slot into the Hyundai A-League's most attacking side.

With record-breaking striker Bruno Fornaroli notching 25 goals last season, City scored 66 in 2015-16 before being eliminated by eventual champions Adelaide United in the semi-finals.

Fornaroli was a revelation up front for City with now-departed Socceroos midfielder Aaron Mooy (11 goals) pulling the strings behind him, while Harry Novillo (10) provided support from wide areas.

Aaron Mooy and Bruno Fornaroli were City's standouts throughout the 2015/16 campaign.

But Cahill's preference for playing as a centre forward in the latter years of his career and Van 't Schip's general unwillingness to play two strikers could force Australia's all-time leading goalscorer or Fornaroli into a less familiar position.

Speaking at Cahill's unveiling on Monday, Van 't Schip insisted City won't need to overhaul their style to accommodate the 36-year-old striker.

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"When we get a player in like Tim, we have to use to try and see and use his qualities but it doesn't mean we have to change everything because of one player," Van 't Schip said.

"Tim can fit into that system very well.

"That's why we got him in and we'll have the time and we'll need the time to see how we can work that out in the best possible way."

With the formalities out of the way it was time to hit the training ground.

Both Van 't Schip and Cahill emphasised the amount of work the latter will need to do when defending, with the Socceroos forward declaring he is used to pressing high from playing under Ange Postecoglou.

"I've watched a lot of video. I've had to learn the way that they play," Cahill said.

On Monday, City played a scratch match at training with both sides lining up in 4-3-3 formations.

Fornaroli was up front for the first team, while Cahill played on the other side as the centre forward.

Josh Rose and Manny Muscat were the first team's full-backs alongside Osama Malik and Connor Chapman, with Luke Brattan, Neil Kilkenny and Anthony Caceres in midfield.

Fornaroli was flanked by Nick Fitzgerald and Bruce Kamau.

If 4-3-3 is to remain Van 't Schip's preferred formation, Fornaroli will have to play out wide as Cahill can't really play anywhere other than through the middle.

Melbourne City

While Fornaroli has insisted he can play in different positions, the 28-year-old has never scored as many goals as he did as City's main marksman last term.

Argentine winger Fernando Brandan, who played in behind Cahill for the second team on Monday, is likely to be a starter by the time the A-League begins in October.

To get Fornaroli into a central position, City could tweak their formation to a 4-2-3-1, which could also see the Uruguayan replace the creativity lost with the departure of Mooy.

Corey Gameiro - if fit - or Kamau could slot in as a winger, with Brattan and Kilkenny shielding City's back four.

This is how Melbourne City's squad currently looks for the 2016/17 season.

But such a formation could see a split between City's defensive midfielders and front four, as Cahill, Fornaroli and Brandan are unlikely to drop too deep.

To make a 4-2-3-1 work, a more industrious winger such as Fitzgerald could provide balance by dropping into midfield when City don't have the ball.

Another option for Van 't Schip would be to play both Cahill and Fornaroli as strikers in a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield.

Brandan might have to be benched for this formation with Caceres perhaps more suited to a classic number 10 role, while Fitzgerald's energy would be critical.

City also used a back three on a number of occasions last term but with their lack of central defenders at this point of the pre-season, it's hard to see Van 't Schip going down that road again in 2016-17.

If the Dutch coach can find a way to get the best out of Fornaroli and Cahill, City could be hard to stop this season but it won't be easy with two players suited to the same position.