Transfer notes: Fitzgerald out, Lustica in?Posted: January 23, 2013
It’s been another busy day at Roar HQ with a 3rd departure of the transfer window and a rumoured new arrival. Nick Fitzgerald joins Rocky Visconte and Erik Paartalu headed through the exit doors, while Steven Lustica is reportedly returning from Dinamo Zagreb to link up with the squad as the 3rd new signing alongside Jade North and Julius Doe.
I’ll start with the deal that’s been confirmed by the club and that is Nick Fitzgerald being granted an early release to go and play with his formerclub Central Coast Mariners. He originally signed a 2 year deal, and while it’s not confirmed yet it’s expected he’ll be linking up with his new side this week and could even make his debut next Friday night back here in Brisbane.
There has been some debate about what Brisbane should have done in this situation from the fans, but for mine they’ve got this one right. Once they decided he would not play for the 1st team again, they really only had the 1 option. I do understand the whole ‘why help out the Mariners’ argument, but I counter that with this: Why stunt the potential growth of a player in the youth league to accommodate him? You could just not play him in either the 1st team or youth, but then you have an unhappy player moping around.
Nick ofcourse has been relatively starved of first team football this season, which is the primary reason behind his departure. Former mentor Ange was a big fan of his and gave him a multitude of chances- including on Grand Final Day- where as his replacements Rado Vidosic and Mike Mulvey haven’t shown as much faith. Nick’s biggest highlights in orange all came towards the end of last season when he scored the equaliser down on the Gold Coast, scored again in the Champions League away to Ulsan and was thrown on to turn things around in the Grand Final. All the best to Nick down in Gosford, and we’ll be following his career.
Nick’s departure however has reportedly been offset to some degree by the arrival of former Gold Coast United midfielder and current Hajduk Split man Steven Lustica on a loan for the remainder of the season. While that particular deal has yet to be confirmed by the club itself, multiple media outlets are reporting it as a done deal, so who is Steven Lustica and what exactly does he bring to the squad?
Steven is a typical box to box midfield type of similar style to Murdocca and Matt McKay, and he was the cornerstone of the back to back championship winning GCU youth sides. A team that won the league in a canter and also had new teammate Ben Halloran in it. From there he actually made his A-League debut against Perth Glory before playing a few days later against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium in that 4-0 win against the Coast in round 30 of the 2010/11 season.
Lustica, now 21, has made just 17 appearances scoring just the once since his transfer at the end of the 2010/11 season. This season he has just the 7 appearances and a total of just 154 minutes on the park, so from the Hajduk perspective this could be a move in order to get him more game time, or they could be looking to sell. Soccerway tells me he also won the HNL 2 (Croatian 2nd tier) last season.
In terms of how he fits in here in Brisbane, it’s an interesting question. I wouldn’t classify him as a similar type of player to Paartalu, which means Luke Brattan is still the best and most obvious replacement. Lustica would be best suited to a role as one of the two central midfielders that typically play slightly ahead of that holding role. That means he’s competing with Lambadaridis, Murdocca, Broich and Nichols for a starting berth. Ofcourse the latter two of those could and have been deployed further forward but it will be interesting to see how he fits in. Overall I think it’s a good pick up as depth for the ACL at the very least, but I think we’ll see him in action pretty soon. Also, from a slightly selfish point of view im looking forward to seeing how much he’s improved since his days in the NYL back here in Aus.