Who’s done well and who’s keeping their powder dry in the A-League transfer market? We assess which clubs have done the best business in the transfer market so far.
Central Coast Mariners
Assessment so far: Strong additions in key areas.
Summary: A squad clearly lacking in experience, attacking options and defensive know-how has been strengthened in exactly those three areas.
Tony Walmsley has brought in experience where it's needed with Powell, Faty, Tavares, Pain and Necevski all quality A-League operators.
Now Roy O’Donovan has young, fast back up in the attacking third. And the back third has experience while Nick Montgomery can run the midfield with Tavares - it’s all slotting in quite nicely.
And the fact that Walmsley has done this business early in the pre-season gives ample time to gel the new faces with the younger ones in his squad, who’d be better for a tough season last time out.
Judging by their transfer market dealings so far, we’re quietly optimistic this mix can work well in Season 2016/17.
Key signings: Blake Powell, Connor Pain, Mickael Tavares, Jacques Faty, Kwabena Appiah
Assessment so far: Powerful defensive acquisitions
Summary: It’ll be a largely new defensive unit next season – and judging by Graham Arnold’s signings, it will have a steely look.
Danny Vukovic and Vedran Janjetovic fighting for the number one spot means the club has the strongest keeping ranks of any in the A-League.
In front of them, Caltex Socceroo Alex Wilkinson, Josh Brillante and Michael Zullo bring experience and overseas nous in defensive roles (though Zullo could also play as an attacking wide midfielder).
And the attacking cavalry has begun to arrive with Berni Ibini heading back to Moore Park as the opening night of the A-League and a Sydney Derby approaches.
Key signings: Danny Vukovic, Alex Wilkinson, Michael Zullo, Josh Brillante, Bernie Ibini
Assessment so far: Impressive attacking additions, now for the defensive line
Summary: The telepathic understanding of off-season signings from Victory, the attacking duo of Finkler and Barbarouses, are the big ticket items.
The fact that they know each other’s play so well is a huge fillip for the Nix.
And even accounting for the loss of Blake Powell, there’s still a net gain up front when you add the existing quality of Bonevacia, McGlinchey and Krishna.
That said, the loss of defensive stalwarts Ben Sigmund and Manny Muscat, as well as brilliant midfielder Albert Riera, are huge holes yet to be filled.
Key signings: Gui Finkler, Kosta Barbarouses
Assessment so far: Low key.
Summary: It’s all a bit quiet up north. But a number of new signings are believed to be on way in coming weeks as the Queenslanders look to cover the loss of the likes of Corona, Donachie and others.
Key signing: Jacob Pepper
Assessment so far: Eye-catching additions equal great depth
Summary: With key re-signing Diego Castro plus former Socceroos Rhys Williams, Chris Herd and Adam Taggart (all WA boys) - there is some serious squad depth at Glory these days.
Up front, Castro, Keogh, Taggart and Harold; down back Williams, Lowry, Grant, Risdon, Mills: Marinkovic, Garcia in midfield (and with holding midfielder Rostyn Griffiths on trial)
Kenny Lowe has done his transfer business nice and early. Perhaps one more creative option in midfield, and they’ll have all bases covered.
Glory are currently on a tour of Philippines to further assess their squad.
Key signings: Adam Taggart, Rhys Williams, Joe Mills, Liam Reddy, Chris Herd
Assessment so far: Yet to seriously splash the cash
Summary: Losing Craig Goodwin, Pablo Sanchez, Bruce Kamau and now Stefan Mauk; there’s some serious quality to replace.
But ‘In Gui Amor we trust’, is the Reds’ mantra, who no doubt will have a shopping list ready to go as they aim to attract a new set of stars to the Champions of Australia.
Key signings: Marc Marino, Ryan Kitto, Ben Garuccio
Assessment so far: Solid
Summary: A major clean out of personnel in the off-season means coach Scott Miller has a big task of rebuilding a squad which has failed to make the finals for six consecutive seasons.
After recording a competition-low 28 goals in 2015/16, the Jets badly need to reinforce their stocks in the front third.
Wayne Brown and Andrew Hoole are good additions to the squad, as is the re-signing of Danish striker Morten Nordstrand, but they need at least another two players to bolster the squad.
With new Chinese owners on board, a proven goal-scorer is top of the priority list for the Hunter club along with an attacking midfielder to provide some creativity in attack.
Defensively, the Jets look solid. Croatian youth international Ivan Vujica has been brought in to fill the problematic left-back position and looks a good pick-up.
Former Roar midfielder Devante Clut is a shrewd signing and Miller will be hoping the enigmatic playmaker can fulfill his undoubted potential at Hunter Stadium.
Key signings: Devante Clut, Wayne Brown, Jack Duncan, Ivan Vujica, Andrew Nabbout, Andrew Hoole.
Assessment so far: Very good business
Summary: They’ve outshone cross-town rivals Victory with an excellent set of signings thus far. And of course, a certain current Socceroo legend may also be on his way but when you bring in Kilkenny, Muscat, Kamau and Brattan, you’d have to say JVS has done some very tidy business in the transfer market.
Key signing: Neil Kilkenny, Manny Muscat, Bruce Kamau, Luke Brattan
Assessment so far: Transfer news to come...
Summary: This is the one club where we expect a whole lot of signings to cover a large turnover since last season.
One thing for sure, the squad will have a vastly different look to it without the likes of Archie, Vukovic, Delpierre, Finkler and Barbarouses.
The big signing so far has been experienced Spanish defender Alan Baro, who’s in for the retiring French star Mathieu Delpierre.
And Mitch Austin’s a pacy winger who impressed against Victory in Geelong last season for the Mariners.
Victory are rumoured to be in the market for Brett Holman, who’d be a very handy pick up.
Key signings: Alan Baro, Mitch Austin
Western Sydney Wanderers
Assessment so far: High-quality trio of signings
Summary: Wanderers fans have gotten used to a carousel of signings in recent years – the turnover has been quite extraordinary.
So it’s been heartening to see a smaller number of high-quality foreign and local players signing up for Tony Popovic.
Japanese Kusukami, Uruguayan Pinatares and former Socceroo Robbie Cornthwaite: all three should do very well.
And just having Jerrad Tyson back ‘home’ is comforting for the red and black fans – the number two keeper is surely one of the most popular players in the league and will push Andrew Redmayne all the way for that number one spot.
Key signings: Jumpei Kusukami, Bruno Pinatares, Robbie Cornthwaite, Steven Lustica, Jerrad Tyson