Off-Season: Potential Transfer Targets (Attacking Midfielders)

Last week I laid out the needs of the roster as it’s currently constructed, aswell as which players could be a fit in the attacking third, today we move to the middle third of the pitch, and more specifically the attacking midfielder role. The creation of this role was the main tactical change made by Mulvey since he took over, and despite big things being expected of Stef Nijland, he failed to deliver.

Once again on the whole I’ve stayed away from foreign signings because it’s near impossible to gauge which players are off contract and interested in moving across the world to the A-League. The exception to this rule however is Liam Miller, who has been linked quite heavily in recent weeks. That results in this list being rather short, because there’s just not many local options who can fill this role.

Mitch Nichols: Mitch+Nichols+League+Rd+2+Brisbane+v+Melbourne+AqJNTiUA8Mll

Nichols is somebody ofcourse were well aware of, and he’s a player who’s been divided opinions since his arrival on the scene back in 2008. The truth of the matter however is he’s a perfectly fine attacking midfielder in the A-League who can get you 8-10 goals a season. The Postecoglou era shows you how effective Mitch can be when used effectively in a system that suits him well, and towards the end of this past season he began to get back to some of his best football.

The question around Mitch however is more about his desire to re-sign, as opposed to him being the right choice. If he’s available and keen to stay, he’d be a fantastic re-signing that would do the job, and would allow the precious foreign spots to be re-allocated to another area of the team. Mitch has however indicated his preference to try and secure a move to a European club for next season, in a attempt to take his game to the next level, and perhaps get into the Socceroos squad more regularly. He’s also been linked with other A-League clubs –including Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory- but you’d like to think he’d remain here in Brisbane as opposed to heading south.

Liam Miller: (Perth) Liam+Miller+League+Rd+16+Perth+v+Melbourne+sFqyoM3wVryl

Miller has been heavily linked to the Roar, to the point where reportedly the deal is all but done, pending a medical. As a player we’ve seen him in the A-League for the past two seasons and he definitely added something to the Glory side in midfield, particularly late this season. When Ali Edwards took over and switched Miller to the #10 role and moved McGarry back into a deeper role, Miller began to show what he’s capable of and while he’s not a natural #10 in the normal sense, he’s still very creative and can open up defences.

Despite playing reasonably well in that #10 role for Glory, Miller still tended to drop deeper at times for Perth to start attacks. Therefore, in order for Miller to be a fit with the Roar, we may see the midfield’s shape change once again for next season. When Mulvey took over we saw Paartalu at the base with two of the others ahead of him, before Mulvey altered that to the current shape of Brattan and Lustica, with Nijland/Nichols ahead of them. Miller may force another re-shaping of the midfield with his tendencies to drop deeper at times which could lead to Berisha being more isolated and having to drop off the front line further. Personally, id prefer someone who held his line in the team and floated in the holes to create a passing avenue on the counter. In the end, for mine Miller is more of a #8 type of midfielder, and not the true #10 were lacking as things stand.

Marco Bresciano: (Al Gharafa) International Friendly - Australia v Argentina

This one is perhaps wishful thinking, and im not totally sure of his contractual situation in Qatar, but where you start talking about creative Australian midfielders, there aren’t too many better than Bresc. There’s obviously some doubt about his willingness to return home the year before the world cup, but Osiek has shown a willingness to include local players in recent times. This one seems highly unlikely to me, but if he were to become available, you would hope he would be considered. As a player, there’s no doubt he would be excellent both in the A-League, and in the Brisbane system, and there is no doubt he would qualify for marquee status if Brisbane do decide to head down this route.

Of the options, despite making the case, I don’t think Bresciano is coming back to the A-League, and of the other two im a bigger fan of Nichols than Miller. Nichols is just more of a natural fit in that #10 role, whereas Miller is more of a deeper lying type playmaker for mine. There’s also the fact I’ll always take the local, home grown and developed guy over the foreign player. Miller seems like the overwhelming favourite for the position as it stands, and while it wouldn’t be a terrible signing, it would require a bit of a change in shape for next season, to a true 4-3-3, as opposed to the current 4-2-3-1.


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