The international national league

A stack of international player movements since the start of 2014 is a reminder - as if Australian football fans need a reminder - of the global nature of the Hyundai A-League.

A stack of international player movements since the start of 2014 is a reminder - as if Australian football fans need a reminder - of the global nature of the Hyundai A-League.

In a month where a Lithuanian striker moved from Turkey to Perth, a Socceroo returned home from New York, and over a dozen A-League players relocated to or from eastern Asian countries, the cosmopolitan stage of Australia's national league is clear to see.

Australia's early 2014 transfer window also saw the movement of several Australians and New Zealanders within the country, as all squads hone in for the run in to the 2014 finals, and the Mariners, Wanderers and Victory also gunning for Asian Champions League success.

A-LEAGUE PLAYER MOVEMENTS 1 January to 5 February 2014 (includes loan moves)

ADELAIDE UNITED Gains: Ryan Griffiths (Beijing Baxy, China), Michael Marrone (Shanghai Shenxin, China). Losses: Antony Golec (Western Sydney Wanderers), Steven Lustica (Brisbane Roar).

BRISBANE ROAR Gains: Steven Lustica (Adelaide United), Jean Carlos Solorzano [COS] (Puntarenas, Costa Rica). Losses: Kwame Yeboah (Borussia Monchengladbach, Germany).

CENTRAL COAST MARINERS Gains: Eddy Bosnar (Guangzhou R&F, China), Isaka Cernak (Perth Glory), Bernie Ibini (Shanghai SIPG, China), Kim Seung-Yong [KOR] (Ulsan Hyundai, Korea Republic), Matt Sim (Sutherland Sharks, NSW), Glen Trifiro (Sydney United, NSW). Losses: Daniel McBreen (Shanghai SIPG, China), Michael McGlinchey [NZL] (Vegalta Sendai, Japan), Trent Sainsbury (Zwolle, Netherlands).

MELBOURNE HEART Gains: Dylan Macallister (Eastern Salon, Hong Kong), Golgol Mebrahtu (Western Sydney Wanderers).

MELBOURNE VICTORY Gains: Tom Rogic (Celtic, Scotland). Losses: Jonathan Bru [MAU] (released), Mitch Nichols (Cerezo Osaka, Japan).

NEWCASTLE JETS Gains: David Carney (New York Red Bulls, United States), Joel Griffiths (Qingdao Jonoon, China).

PERTH GLORY Gains: Rostyn Griffiths (Guangzhou, China), Nebojsa Marinkovic [SER] (Hapoel Haifa, Israel), Darvydas Sernas [LIT] (Gaziantepspor, Turkey). Losses: Isaka Cernak (Central Coast Mariners), Ryo Nagai [JPN] (Cerezo Osaka, Japan).

SYDNEY FC Gains: Milos Dimitrijevic [SER] (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia), Sasa Ognenovski (Umm-Salal, Qatar). Losses: Tiago Calvano (BRA) (released), Brett Emerton (retired), Yairo Yau [PAN] (Sporting San Miguelito, Panama).

WELLINGTON PHOENIX Gains: Roy Krishna [FIJ] (Auckland City, New Zealand), Hamish Watson (Team Wellington, New Zealand).

WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS Gains: Antony Golec (Adelaide United), Golgol Mebrahtu (Melbourne Heart), Daniel Mullen (Dalian Aerbin, China).

Some A-League debutants over January 2014 have put the spotlight on a range of player source countries, some new to the Australian national league, others long-established.

Darvydas Sernas is the first Australian national league player from Lithuania, and in fact apart from a small number of Ukrainians over the years, Sernas is the first player from any former Soviet republic to play in Australia's top flight.

While several African-born players have made it to A-League ranks over the past few years, talented youngster Alusine Fofanah became the league's first player from Sierra Leone when he made his debut for Western Sydney in mid-January.

Although Wellington's Ray Krishna becomes the first Fijian to play in the A-League, there was Fijian presence in the very first match in the National Soccer League (NSL) in 1977 with Keni Kawaleva a part of the Canberra City team which hosted West Adelaide in NSL match number 1.

With the January signing of Milos Dimitrijevic, and earlier arrivals Nikola Petkovic and Ranko Despotovic, the Serbs are suddenly in favour at Sydney FC. All three Serbians started in Sydney's 5-0 rout of Melbourne Victory - Sydney's biggest away win in the A-League. Excluding the more 'traditional' source countries Brazil, the Netherlands and New Zealand, this was the first time three imports of the same nationality have started for an Australian A-League team. We need to go back to the 1992/93 NSL season to find more than three imports of the same nationality playing for an Australian national league team, when Preston fielded Macedonians Nikola Avramovski, Spase Najdovski, Zoran Tasevski and Zoran Trajcevski against Melbourne Croatia in their Round 11 match.

Together with Perth Glory's Nebojsa Marinkovic, the Serbian contingent is prominent this season, as it was throughout the first decade of the NSL.

Players from 25 different nationalities now make up the 2013/14 Hyundai A-League season.

And with the league's first French (William Gallas) and Chilean (Pablo Contreras) national team players joining this season, players from around 55 different nationalities have now taken part in the A-League since it kicked off in 2005.

But it's not just the A-League where overseas stars have come to play in 2013/14. This summer's Westfield W-League features players from a dozen countries, with a prominence of players from the leading country of women's football the United States. The W-League's eight Americans are spread across Canberra United and Western Sydney Wanderers (3 each), Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory. And in terms of quality female players, none - officially - can be more internationally prominent than Brisbane Roar goalkeeper Nadine Angerer who was recently announced FIFA Women's World Player of 2013.

All over the world, the growing internationalisation of football is increasing debate about the right mix of local and overseas players.

The prominence of star players from abroad can certainly add quality and glamour to a national league. The flip side however is reduced opportunity for the domestic playing contingent; leagues and teams potentially losing 'local' identity, and lesser-experienced home-grown players available for national teams.

Finding the right balance is essential.

In the meantime there's a great and diverse spectacle as players from right across the globe mix it with the best local talent on the national men's and women's stage. Get out there and enjoy it.

Follow Andrew Howe-s Aussie football stats updates on Twitter @AndyHowe_statto