Off-Season: Potential Transfer Targets (Defenders)Posted: May 9, 2013
Over the past couple of weeks we’ve taken a look at the market and potential transfer targets, today we’ll round out this short series by looking at the defenders. In general, the backline is largely set with Stefanutto, Hingert, North, Donachie, Smith and possibly Franjic all set to play major roles next season. There’s also the young Corey Brown who will be pushing for the left back role. There is however a need for one more defender imo, it’s just a question of which position.
If as expected Franjic remains in that right wing role he made his own at the end of this season, then that opens up the right back slot to some degree- with Jack Hingert the likely favourite for the role. It is also however worth considering the possibility that Jade North –who has international caps as a right fullback- could move over to the right to accommodate young Donachie who was the big improver this year. If Franjic is going to be moving back to the fullback role, then a central defender is the need, and possibly another winger if Halloran heads off- more on that another day. The irritating thing is Brisbane had the perfect candidate for this role in house just 12 months ago, but they let him go to Melbourne. For now, I’ll divide this up into two categories- right backs and centre backs to cover all possibilities.
Regardless of whether or not it’s a right back or centre back, the reality is were mostly looking for a back-up player, which means that not all of these options are overly appealing. There are a couple of decent ones however.
Tarek Elrich (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Tarek has been apart of the A-League since it’s inception and has been one of the more consistent performers down the right hand side, firstly with Newcastle and then in limited opportunities with Western Sydney. That move to the Wanderers didn’t quite work out for him, and if you’re looking for an attacking right back who likes to get forward, he’s probably the most similar to Franjic.
Dylan McGowan (Hearts)
Dylan is somebody that Mulvey has worked with in the past in the dying days of the Gold Coast, where McGowan was on loan. He largely played as a right back in those teams, but he’s played both right and centre back over in Scotland, and that versatility makes him a good candidate for this defensive utility position. While Hearts have some financial issues of their own right now, I read that just recently he signed a new contract with Hearts which probably makes this an unlikely signing, despite being a perfect fit.
Aryn Williams (Burnley)
Younger brother of fringe Socceroo Rhys, the young Aryn has spent the past couple of years developing in the Burnley academy and reserves, but has failed to make the grade as they pursue another run at the EPL and has recently been released. This is the type of player I believe the A-League should be trying to attract home, in order to get him first team experience, and of all the right back options, this one is the best for mine.
Frane Vladislavic (Primorac 1929- Croatian 2nd division), Matthew Byrne (Teleoptik—Serbian 2nd division), Shane Huke (Dover Athletic)
An interesting mix here, Huke has some A-League experience with Central Coast from the Lawrie McKinna era, and was something of a utility in his time here. He wasn’t exactly a standout and is now playing non-league in England. The other two are youngsters trying to make their way in Eastern Europe- idk much about Vladislavic but those who went to the early days of the NYL will remember Byrne. He was a member of the inaugural Roar NYL squad is a Brisbane boy which makes him an interesting option. Of these 3, id opt for Byrne, but it’s unlikely any of these guys would add much.
Scrap heap guys:
Jamie Coyne (Melbourne Heart), Trent McClenahan (Sydney FC), Spase Dilevski (Melbourne Victory)
These three are all mediocre at best options and in truth should be avoided at all costs. If I had to pick between the three of them, id opt for McClenahan, purely because he’s younger, but in truth the A-League has moved past these guys.
The market for central defenders is a little deeper than that of the right backs, however most of them are probably in the unrealistic options, due to the salary cap space and the fact Brisbane already has three central defenders signed up. This role could have –and I guess could still be- filled by NYL player of the year Ross Archibald, however he was reportedly told at the end of the season he wouldn’t be offered a deal.
Adrian Madaschi (Jeju United), Milan Susak (Sepahan), Lucas Neill (Sydney FC), Patrick Kisnorbo (Leeds United)
All of these guys are quality defenders and would do a solid enough job in the A-League, the problem is that they’d all be after more money and playing time than Brisbane could likely offer them. Infact all of them could get a better opportunity elsewhere in the A-League when you look at some of the defences currently assembled. Having the national team captain would be a nice marketing angle, but it’s just not a fit.
Brent Griffiths (Central Coast Mariners)
There aren’t too many good options available for the role required, but Brent has been in and around the A-League system for awhile now, with the Mariners, Phoenix and Glory but in recent times he’s began to show some potential. With a small-ish squad Graham Arnold was forced to rotate his squad in the title run in and Griffiths did a solid job when called upon in the Champions League. As a squad player/backup he’d be an interesting option, however im not sure Brisbane needs another left footed defender.
Aaron Downes (Torquay United), Shane Cansdell Sherriff (Rochedale- on loan from Preston North End), Aleksandar Jovanovic (Suwon FC- Korean 2nd tier)
These three have all spent considerable time playing football overseas, with Downes even becoming a club captain in his time in the English lower leagues. Sherriff graduated from the 2004 Olyroos group as a left back but these days he’s more of a central defender who spent the season just finished out on loan which leads one to think he could be available. Jovanovic is something of a journeyman –despite being only 23- having played in Serbia, Thailand and now Korea. Of the three, Sherriff is probably the better player, but the question remains would he return to Australia as a backup?
Scrap heap guys:
Nathan Sherlock (Sydney FC), Steve Pantelidis (Perth Glory), Dane Milovanovic (Pelita Jaya- Indonesian Super League), Adam Griffiths (Sydney FC)
Two of these guys have previously played for Brisbane, with Sherlock trialing for a contract in the 2010 pre-season, and Milovanovic being a graduate of the NYL squad. Neither are worth a serious look however. Pantelidis wouldn’t be the worst back-up in a squad sense because he could fill in at RB/CB/CM, but his temperament hasn’t exactly been the best down the years and im not sure he’d fit the Roar way. Of all these guys, A. Griffiths would be the best option, in that he can also play the same 3 positions as Pantelidis, but in a dire Sydney backline he couldn’t either stay fit or get regular game time which leads one to think he could be done.
Who would I prefer?
Well, again it depends on the type of defender Mulvey is looking for. Of the right back options, id lean towards Williams over Elrich just because of the time he’s spent in a European club. Centre back is tougher because there’s already 3 starting calibre players signed up, but Griffiths as a squad option wouldn’t be the worst idea. Jovanovic might also be worth a look. It’s all down to Franjic and where he’s going play though, that’s what will determine which defensive position is required. Regardless of position, I do think that another defensive option should be added.