What to expect from the January transfer window?

The transfer window in the A-League doesn’t officially open for another 10 days –Monday January 14th– but there’s already been a bunch of rumours about a couple of departures and also potentially a new signing or two.  I’ll start with a couple of the rumours that have been doing the rounds in the past couple of weeks. I’ll do another one of these looking at the out of contract players in the next couple of days.

 

The big rumour that’s been rumbling along for months now is Erik Paartalu’s reportedly immanent move to the Chinese Super League. With just 6 months remaining on his 3 year deal in Brisbane and very little talk about a new contract it seems almost certain Erik’s time in Brisbane is coming to and end, be that in the January transfer window, before the new Chinese season kicks off in March or at the end of his contract.

 

 

Mitch Nichols is another who’s received some interest in recent times from Randers in the Danish 2nd tier and although that has fallen through it’s always possible something comes up for the midfielder, who like Paartalu, is coming to the end of his contract. There were some reports that some scouts were here to watch Mitch a month or so ago but all has gone quiet on that front. Mulvey has however in recent weeks suggested that he’d like to keep Mitch around long term so it will be interesting to see how that works given the big contract extensions they’ve given out already this season.

 

 

There’s also been some murmurings about some of the younger players seeking a deal elsewhere, with left back Corey Brown being the most prominent of those in recent days. The young Socceroos captain has reportedly agreed to join Newcastle Jets on a 1st team deal. There was also some speculation that Nick Fitzgerald is attracting the interest of the two Sydney sides and Central Coast. Both Brown and Fitzgerald –and George Lambadaridis- are on full time NYL contracts which is a fancy way of saying they’re paid like u/21 1st team players, but are technically youth team players. It would be prudent imo to sign these guys up for 2013/14 and beyond if they’re intending on keeping them before they go the same way as Jason Geria.

 

 

So, that covers the potential outs’, but who could be coming in? Mike Mulvey has been vocal in recent weeks about the need for another striker to provide competition for Besart Berisha, but is that really the biggest need? I would argue it’s well down on the list requirements moving towards the finals and the Champions League. For mine, the biggest need is at the back with just Smith, Donachie and Jurman as options now that Yuji Takahashi has returned to Japan. They reportedly chase Dino Djulbic before he rejected a return to the A-League in preference to a move to the Middle East.

The other big requirement imo will be an immediate replacement for Erik Paartalu should he depart. While he hasn’t been quite as good as his 1st two seasons in Brisbane, he still a key cog in the midfield engine room and there’s nobody here right now capable of playing in that role in the squad. Maybe Luke Brattan, but he seems to be out of favour right now after his NYL send off for dissent. Matt McKay is in town and watching training, and I keep hearing rumours about him returning. Personally I don’t buy it and I don’t expect to see him back in orange until after Brazil 2014, but it would be a great signing if they could pull it off.

 

 

The other thing about recruiting at this stage of the season is you have to keep in mind the restriction for foreigners in the Champions League -3 + 1 from an AFC member nation- which means that if they signed somebody, one of the foreigners would draw the Issey Nakajima Farran short straw and miss the ACL. It would also have to be a short term signing since the A-League is planning on cutting the foreign limit from 5 to 4 in time for the 2013/14 season. Makes it an interesting dynamic to go about recruitment, should be an interesting few weeks.

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