Berisha moves onPosted: January 22, 2014
After months of speculation regarding his future, Besart Berisha and his new club Melbourne Victory have today confirmed that as of next season he will be wearing navy blue. The officialterms of the deal for those interested are- 2 years as the international marquee player, rumoured to be worth 1million are season. If that is accurate that is far more than what Brisbane can afford to pay him inside of the salary cap, especially given the constraints they find themselves under with the current crop of players under contract.
The move does leave Brisbane in a tough spot moving forward however, and the priority for the off-season must surely be to now go out and find a replacement for Berisha. It is worth noting that prior to Besart’s arrival in 2011, Brisbane had Solórzano (11), Barbarouses (11) Reinaldo (6- in half a season) and Meyer (3) all providing the goals in the front third, so it’s possible to find somebody to put the chances away. To that end I think it was, and is, far more important to keep around those who can create the chances –Brattan, McKay, Broich, Henrique- than the finisher, as good as he is.
If we take a look at the squad moving forward into next season, the majority of the playing group will be remaining largely in tact with only two players moving on from this season, and one of those has already gone (Yeboah). The only players yet to get any certainty on their futures are Acton and Ferreira, and you would think that Acton is likely to get an extension. Ferreira is still up in the air, while Julius Davies could be in danger of having his contract terminated given he’s been a largely peripheral figure this season.
2014-15 squad as it stands (By Position)
Goalkeepers: Michael Theo
Defenders: Matt Smith, Shane Stefanutto, Jade North, James Donachie, Jack Hingert, Corey Brown
Midfielders: Ivan Franjic, Liam Miller, Julius Davies, Matt McKay, Luke Brattan, George Lambadaridis, Ben Litfin*
Attackers: Henrique, Thomas Broich, Dimitri Petratos, Brandon Borrello*
Bold- denotes foreign player
*- denotes current full-time National Youth League players
With that in mind, the only glaring hole in the squad is at the #9 position, and even if Mulvey is planning on playing a false 9 formation in the future, it would still be prudent to have somebody capable of playing as a traditional striker in the squad. Those linked include ex Gold Coast marksman Shane Smeltz, while Jean Carlos Solórzano figures to get an audition for the role this season if he does sign on. There are still two foreign spots available in the squad for next season, with the possibility of a third should the Henrique citizenship finally come through by then. But even if it doesn’t, there are visa spots, and now with Berisha officially out of the calculations, there is the cap space to look outside and bring in somebody to help further the squad.