Your club's biggest losses - and how they can be replaced: part one

The Hyundai A-League has been hit with some big-name departures ahead of the 2018/19 kick off.

With pre-season only just emerging across the competition, there is still plenty of time for clubs replace outgoing stars and assemble their final rosters ahead of the new campaign.

SQUAD CHECK: Every Hyundai A-League squad updated ahead of 2018/19

BYE-BYE BES: Berisha's Hyundai A-League legacy analysed 

But which clubs have been hit hardest by key departures? 

We take a look at your club's biggest losses - and how they might be replaced...

ADELAIDE UNITED

In: Michael Jakobsen (Melbourne City FC), Craig Goodwin (Sparta Rotterdam)

Out: Tarek Elrich, Johan Absalonsen, Ben Garuccio, Dzengis Cavusevic, Mark Ochieng, Daniel Adlung, Jordan O'Doherty, Ersan Gulum (loan ends)

Biggest losses: Johan Absalonsen, Daniel Adlung, Ben Garuccio

The post-season has seen last year's semi-finalists hit hard by a raft of departures. Ben Garrucio, Ersan Gulum, Daniel Adlung and Johan Absalonsen have all exited the city of churches - all four players started in Adelaide's 2-1 elimination final loss to Melbourne Victory, and all were among the first names on Marco Kurz's team sheet when fit.

Despite featuring only 11 times last season, the contribution of Johan Absalonsen to the Adelaide cause was immense. The Dane offered six goals and four assists for the Reds, and was almost always the side’s go-to man in the final third when available.

Adelaide were the competition's fourth-lowest scorers last season, and they certainly appear short of firepower as a result of Absalonsen’s departure. As things stand, the only member of Adelaide's front line to score over four goals in a single Hyundai A-League campaign is Ryan Kitto, who netted seven last year.

However, the Reds managed to dispel similar concerns over an apparent lack of goalscorer last season after a strong campaign, in which Adelaide finished the regular season fifth and were narrowly beaten in the elimination final. A greater issue of concern for Kurz's men could potentially lie within the losses of Daniel Adlung and Ben Garuccio.

The German midfielder was one of Adelaide's unsung heroes throughout the 2017/18 campaign, and offered a skill-set to compliment the team's chief orchestrator Isaias perfectly, while Garuccio enjoyed arguably his finest season to date in Australia after nailing down a position at left back.

Ben Garuccio
Ben Garuccio

How they can be replaced:

The return of Craig Goodwin could alleviate worries for Adelaide fans, and if Kurz can recapture the potential of the former Red, Goodwin's acquisition may end up being one of the feel-good stories of the upcoming season.

However, despite the 26-year-old's talent, Goodwin will not be able to account for both Absalonsen’s guile in the front third and the superb fullback play of Garrucio alone. With no senior left back available in the squad, there appears to be a hole on Adelaide’s left side that still needs to be filled.

Meanwhile, the loss of Adlung could potentially be replaced by Adelaide's array of midfield talent. Lachlan Brook, Kristin Konstandopoulos and Nathan Konstandopoulos all lay credible claims to the vacancy in Adelaide’s midfield.

Ryan Kitto Johan Absalonsen Adelaide

 

BRISBANE ROAR

In: Adam Taggart (Perth Glory), Dylan Wenzel-Halls (Western Pride), Stefan Mauk (NEC Nijmegen), Tobias Mikkelsen (Nordsjaelland)

Out: Corey Gameiro, Mitchell Oxborrow, Jade North, Massimo Maccarone, Corey Brown, Fahid Ben Khalfallah (retired), Michael Theo, Ivan Franjic

Biggest losses: Massimo Maccarone, Ivan Franjic

The winds of change have swept through John Aloisi squad in the off-season, with Roar veterans Michael Theo and Jade North parting ways with Brisbane. Alongside the also departing Corey Brown and Ivan Franjic, Roar have now lost three members of their 2013/14 Championship winning side. Losing four members of the Roar defence removes an invaluable slice of experience and title-winning know-how from the Brisbane ranks.

Massimo Maccarone is another experienced head who won't be lining up at Suncorp Stadium next campaign. The striker proved many doubters wrong thanks to a wily contribution to Brisbane’s 2017/18 season, and although the Roar were often reliant on the veteran Italian, his departure is a substantial deficit to Aloisi's men.

Holman, Maccarone
Massimo Maccarone

How they can be replaced:

However, Maccarone’s exit has sparked the captures of Adam Taggart, Dylan Wenzel-Halls and Tobias Mikkelsen, who will all be fighting it out to lead the line for the Roar next campaign. Aloisi has regenerated his front line with a mix of young talent proven on the Hyundai A-League scene and exciting unknowns, which could have Roar fans heading into the new season cautiously optimistic about their prospects in attack.

Theo and North's playing time deteriorated last season, with both players only accounting for a combined 13 appearances in total - but their experience will nonetheless prove hard to replace. The departure of Ivan Franjic, on the other hand, is a more tangible loss for Brisbane. The fullback's arrival at the midway point of last campaign provoked the best period of the Roar’s season and with no nominal right-footed fullback in the squad, Aloisi may well be looking to the transfer market to make up for Franjic’s departure.

Ivan Franjic

 

CENTRAL COAST MARINERS

In: Jack Clisby, Jonathan Aspropotamitis (both Western Sydney Wanderers), Corey Gameiro (Brisbane Roar), Matt Simon (Sydney FC), Mario Shabow (Newcastle Jets), Joe Gauci (West Torrens Birkalla), Michael McGlinchey (Wellington Phoenix)

Out: Josh Rose (retired), Trent Buhagiar, Liam Rose, Storm Roux, Jacob Poscoliero, Josh Bingham, Blake Powell, Peter Skapetis, Tom Glover, Wout Brama, Alan Baro

Biggest losses: Storm Roux, Trent Buhagiar

It has been a difficult few seasons for Storm Roux since signing for the-then defending Champions back in 2013, but the New Zealand full back has consistently been a standout performer for Central Coast.

The 25-year-old has made 104 appearances in total for the Mariners, and has always been a reliable presence on the right flank, offering plenty of attacking intent to sit alongside his natural defensive instincts.

A move to reigning Champions Melbourne Victory to replace outgoing fullback Jason Geria highlights the esteem in which Roux is held across the competition.

Meanwhile, the departure of Trent Buhagiar to Sydney FC may not resemble a devastating immediate loss, but the Australian U23 international's departure could come back to haunt the Mariners in the coming seasons should the promising attacker prosper under Steve Corica.

After consistently impressing at youth level for the Mariners, Buhagiar was a substitute in 15 of his 19 appearances for the Mariners last season, but almost always made a positive impact for Paul Okon’s side when coming off the bench.

Trent Buhagiar
Trent Buhagiar

How they can be replaced

With no specialist senior right back in the Mariners squad, Roux’s exit could potentially result in a new fullback signing for Central Coast as incoming boss Mike Mulvey finalises his squad for the upcoming season.

The loss of Buhagiar, on the other hand, appears to have been addressed by the captures of Mario Shabow and Michael McGlinchey. The versatile Buhagiar featured across the front line for the Mariners last season, and 20-year-old Shabow fits the bill to replace the Sydney forward's X-factor from the bench. The right footed left-winger will even fancy his chances at contesting a starting berth with the returning McGlinchey as Mulvey's plans for the new season begin to take shape.

Storm Roux

 

MELBOURNE CITY FC

In: Michael O'Halloran (Rangers), Riley McGree (Club Brugge, loan), Lachlan Wales (Central Coast Mariners), Anthony Caceres (Manchester City, loan)

Out: Nick Fitzgerald, Michael Jakobsen, Manny Muscat, Bruce Kamau, Ruon Tongyik, Christian Cavallo, Stefan Mauk (loan ends), Marcin Budzinski, Oliver Bozanic, Denis Genreau (loan to PEC Zwolle)

Biggest losses: Michael Jaksobsen, Manny Muscat, Ruon Tongyik

City boss Warren Joyce has seen several important squad members depart so far, with midfielder Marcin Budzinski and attacking duo Nick Fitzgerald and Bruce Kamau all severing ties with the club. However, the losses of Manny Muscat and Michael Jakobsen could prove to be the most significant absences in the Melbourne squad as things stand.

Muscat was often an unsung hero for Joyce’s side last campaign, and an important member of the league’s strongest defensive units. The 33-year-old's ability to plug gaps anywhere across the back four and in midfield was seldom utilised during his time at City, but Melbourne may yet end up ruing the loss of Muscat's versatility at some point in the new campaign.

Jakobsen was also an an ever-present for City last season, and his departure combined with the loss of Ruon Tongyik leaves Melbourne's central defensive stocks short at the moment. The 21-year-old Sudanese defender made 14 appearances in his debut season last year and did not look out of place in the Hyundai A-League.

Manny Muscat
Manny Muscat

How they can be replaced:

With Nathaniel Atkinson still managing a horrible ankle injury suffered in January, could Dylian Pierias be afforded the chance to deputise in the vacant right-back slot? The young fullback is currently the only nominal right fullback available to Joyce, and is widely regarded as one of the best developing talents across the country.

Pierias made his debut last season at 16 years old, becoming the first person born in the 2000s to play in the Hyundai A-League.

Joyce may yet be considering a new addition to bolster the City defensive stocks in both the right-back and centre-back areas to compensate for the losses of Muscat, Jakobsen and Tongyik. Currently, Melbourne's central defensive options comprised of Harrison Delbridge, Iacopo La Rocca and Osama Malik, and although the City stalwart might seek to promote from within, the experience of both Jakobsen and Muscat may force his hand into recruiting a more experienced head.

Michael Jakobsen

 

MELBOURNE VICTORY

In: Corey Brown (Brisbane Roar), Storm Roux (Central Coast Mariners)

Out: Stefan Nigro, Mitchell Austin, Matias Sanchez, Cameron McGilp, Christian Theoharous, Pierce Waring, James Donachie, Besart Berisha

Biggest loss: Besart Berisha

The departure of talisman Besart Berisha will be one that the Melbourne Victory faithful will mourn for a long time, and it leaves the defending Champions with a gaping hole up front as things stand.

How he can be replaced:

Is it possible to replace a player like Besart Berisha?

The Hyundai A-League’s all-time leading goalscorer leaves not only a sizeable void in the Victory front line but in the competition overall, and Melbourne coach Kevin Muscat will have an almighty task in finding a replacement.

Currently, Victory’s squad appears bereft of a pure number nine who could step into the departing Kosovo Albanian’s shoes. A new front man will likely be high on the list of priorities for Muscat as the Victory boss plots the defence of his side's 2017/18 title.

But how will Muscat choose to re-assemble his attacking lineup? Berisha's goal scoring and perennial match-winning abilities are an obvious loss, but the striker's movement, combination play and intensity off the ball means that Victory may need to replace the outgoing Hyundai A-League icon with several components.

With no attacking reinforcements yet to arrive for Muscat's men, question marks lie large over Victory's squad at the present moment.

Besart Berisha