Brisbane have been looking for a striker this January transfer window, and it appears they may have found their man in Andrija Kaluderovic. Reports first emerged today on the Football Central website, and the Serbian could be announced this week.
Kaluderovic, 27, has had a host of clubs in his career, with his most successful spells coming at Serbian sides FK Rad -21 goals in 45 games- and Red Star Belgrade -19 goals in 43 games-. His most recent club was Swiss Super League side FC Thun, where he scored twice in five games before departing. He as also been capped at every level for the Serbian national team, with three senior appearances for his country.
Kaluderovic also has some experience in Asia which could useful, with a stint in the Chinese Super League with possible group stage opponent Beijing Guo’an back in 2012. His time in the Chinese capital wasn’t overly successful, with just two goals in 11 games before being loaned out to other clubs.
The signing of Kaluderovic, if it is confirmed, takes Brisbane to 22 contracted players, and four visa players. Currently Brisbane have just the three visa players contracted with Henrique gaining citizenship yesterday, leaving just Thomas Broich, Jean Carlos Solórzano and Jerome Polenz which means Brisbane can sign an additional two this transfer window. Henrique however will still count as a visa player in the Champions League due to their rules and regulations.
Brisbane having been looking for a striker all season, with Mensur Kurtishi, Brandon Borrello and Jean Carlos Solórzano all struggling to step up to the plate following the departure of Besart Berisha. While Kaluderovic doesn’t have boast the same level of former clubs Berisha did when he arrived, his goal scoring record prior to joining Brisbane far exceeds the Albanian who went on to scored 48 goals for Brisbane.
With half of Brisbane’s 14 goals to date coming from Henrique, and the struggles of the now departed Mensur Kurtishi – 1 goal in 9 games, and Jean Carlos Solórzano – 3 goals in 12 games-, Kaluderovic would be a handy boost to the frontline if the deal comes to fruition.
It’s not official yet, but Brisbane Roar have re-signed defender Luke DeVere, four seasons after his departure to the K-League. Reports first emerged late last night in the weekend papers saying the deal was done, and while it hasn’t been confirmed yet, it could be by the time you’re reading this. DeVere returns to Brisbane on a deal through the end of the season, which will see him eligible to play in both the league and the Asian Champions League.
DeVere, 25, has spent the past four seasons in the South Korean K-League with Gyeongnam after departing Brisbane in January 2011, and has had something of a mixed run. In his four seasons with the Korean side, he made a total of 78 appearances for the club, scoring six goals along the way but he struggled to hold down a regular starting berth. While it seems like Luke has played a fair amount of football since his departure, he has only played 22 games in the past two seasons after picking up a knee injury and losing his spot in the side, and he made just 9 appearances this past season.
The addition of DeVere will provide manager Frans Thijssen with extra options in defence along with the incumbent duo of Jade North and James Donachie, in addition to youngster Lachlan Jackson and that depth will be required and tested in the coming months with the league run in and the Champions League. He brings with him the ability to play out from the back comfortably, a trait which is a key part of the Brisbane philosophy, which has been a big part of the problems that the team has suffered this season and something the new manager has been tasked with improving upon
Provided all goes well, Luke will likely make his first appearance for Brisbane in over four years on February 2nd against Wellington, with Jade North suspended due to picking up a 5th yellow card of the season in the final game before the break. He’ll join fellow new signing Jerome Polenz in being available for selection, in addition to the returning from injury duo of Thomas Broich and Michael Theo.
DeVere’s return to the Roar continues a trend in recruitment of players returning the club after spells with other teams. In the past two seasons alone, we’ve seen the return of Adam Sarota –on loan-, Steven Lustica, Jean Carlos Solórzano, Matt McKay, Kofi Danning, Daniel Bowles, Matt Acton –injury replacement- and now DeVere. That’s not necessarily a good or bad thing, it is however interesting to see they’ve gone in that direction.
DeVere is Brisbane’s second signing of the January transfer window, following the signing of defender Jerome Polenz when the window first opened at the beginning of the month. Before it closes ones again on the 4th of February, it’s expected that Brisbane will bring in another signing or two, including some additional firepower upfront after the departure of Mensur Kurtishi.
Ivan Franjic was linked with a return to Brisbane earlier in the month on loan to play in a right wing role. A new striker also figures to be arriving this month, with Roy O’Donovan linked earlier in the week. The re-enforcements are arriving, hopefully there’s another one or two before Brisbane begin the second half of the season on Monday week against Wellington Phoenix.
Brisbane are looking for help all over their roster in the current January Transfer window, over the next couple of weeks we’ll take a look at players who may be a fit for Brisbane. Today, we look at Eli Babalj, a promising young Australian striker who has been frozen out in the Netherlands.
Babalj, 22, is a name which will be familiar to most A-League fans due top his two stints with Melbourne City, where he scored 12 goals in 44 appearances over the span of three seasons. He’s now however undergoing some testing times in the Netherlands with AZ Alkmaar, as this report on Football Central points out.
Since he departed Melbourne for a second time at the end if the 2012-13 season, Babalj has struggled for game time at Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, with the young striker limited to just reserve team football. Reports are now emerging from Europe that the young striker was omitted from the first team’s tour to get into shape ahead of the second half of the season, and has been told he is free to find himself a new club.
Babalj also has some international experience to his name, making his Socceroos debut in the East Asian Cup qualifier against Guam, a game in which he scored his first two goals for the National Team. He’s also been a regular of Australian u/19 and u/21 sides in years gone by.
Babalj won’t be limited in his options if he does decide to depart Alkmaar, with a host of A-League and Asian sides likely to be interested, as well as the possibility of landing a contract at another European club. As a fit for Brisbane he’d be a good choice given he’s got a proven track record here in the A-League. Babalj would also offer a totally different type of play to Brisbane with his height and strength providing attributes that Brisbane hasn’t seen in a striker since the Reinaldo, Sergio van Djik days.
It’s a long shot that Babalj opts to return to the A-League given his age and his willingness to try and make it in Europe, however if he is interested in a return home –either short term or permanent-, Brisbane should absolutely make contact and see if a deal is agreeable. There aren’t many Australian strikers out there that would be difference makers in the A-League, and Babalj has proven in the past he can score goals, and he’s still young enough to improve further in the future.
With the A-League on break for the Asian Cup, the European leagues on winter break and the Asian leagues on their end of season break, there isn’t a great deal to update. There have however been a couple of former Brisbane players who’ve found new clubs in January, or signed new contracts at their current clubs.
Before the transfer section of this, one player’s league is up and running, with the Indian I-League getting underway this past weekend. Milan Susak and his new East Bengal teammates started with a 1-1 draw.
First up in the transfer section, Liam Miller has found himself a new club, with the Irish midfielder returning to his homeland to play for Cork City, the club where he began his career as a junior. Miller, 33, will be playing in his homeland for the first time in his professional career, and was quoted as saying: “I am delighted to be returning home. I will be proud to wear the Cork City jersey and do what I can for the team in front of all my family and friends”. Miller was a free agent after leaving Brisbane via mutual consent in October, playing two games for Melbourne City as an injury replacement in the interim.
Here in the A-League, a couple of former Brisbane players have secured contract extensions at their current clubs, with Nick Fitzgerald signing a two year contract extension with Central Coast Mariners. Meanwhile in Melbourne, former Brisbane youth defender Jason Geria has signed a two year contract extension with Melbourne Victory.
Finally, in a surprise move, Caloundra FC have completed one of the coups of the local season with the announcement that Frank Farina will be apart of their coaching structure for the 2015 season. While the former Roar boss won’t be the head coach of the Sunshine Coast Premier League side, instead he will be offering technical advice, coaching clinics and fundraising opportunities throughout the season. Farina is also a technical advisor for the Fiji u-20 side in the lead up to this years u/20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Brisbane are looking for help all over their roster in the current January Transfer window, over the next couple of weeks we’ll take a look at players who may be a fit for Brisbane. Today, we look at Roy O’Donovan, an Irish striker whose goals in South-East Asia has seen him linked with a move to the A-League.
O’Donovan has been linked to a move to Australia this week and is reportedly targeting a move to the A-League, with 442 speculating that he might be a good fit for Brisbane or Central Coast. That comes on the back of 15 goals in 24 games for Brunei DPMM FC in the Singapore S-League, after seven difficult years in England where he struggled for goals.
He started his professional career with his hometown club Cork City in 2007 with a record of 31 goals in 74 appearances. That record attracted interest from Sunderland, however things never worked out for him with the Black Cats, nor with a host of other clubs he joined on loan, with his best spell in English football coming with Hartlepool where he scored 9 goals in 15 games while on loan at the then League Two club.
O’Donovan has also represented his country at both u/21 and senior level, with eight appearances for the Ireland u/21 side, taking part in the European u/21 championships. With the senior side, he played for the Ireland B side in a game with Scotland B which ended in a 1-1 draw. Ultimately however, O’Donovan failed to do enough to earn the favour of then Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni.
O’Donovan is seemingly very interested in joining the A-League this month, however his goal scoring record leaves a lot to be desired for mine. Comparisons have been made with fellow Irishman Andy Keogh whose been a hit a Perth Glory, however I don’t see it.
Mensur Kurtishi has officially departed Brisbane Roar, with the striker set to return to Europe. Reports first emerged on Monday evening when a report from Macedonian website Lajm emerged on his social media page claiming he had left Brisbane. The link was swiftly deleted, but today the move has been confirmed.
Kurtishi, 28, has been a disappointment here in Brisbane since arriving in August, scoring just the one goal in round two against Perth Glory. Since that day, he hasn’t really threatened in the following games. After making his debut against Adelaide off the bench in the FFA Cup Round of 16, Kurtishi has made 9 appearances for Brisbane, with just the five starts this season.
Kurtishi’s new club is yet to be confirmed, but his departure opens up a foreign spot for Brisbane to bring somebody in. Currently they have four visa players, however with Henrique set to gain citizenship on Australia Day, they will soon have two spare visa spots; although Henrique’s citizenship won’t arrive in time to count as a local player for the Champions League.
The departure obviously frees up even more cap space to use this January on re-enforcements with Liam Miller and Matt Smith having already gone. A striker is surely top of the priority list, hopefully the new man makes more of a contribution than Kurtishi.
Reports from Macedonian news outlet Lajm are suggesting that Brisbane striker Mensur Kurtishi could be about to depart the club just five months after signing on. Kurtishi, who signed a 1 year contract in August has according to the reports already returned to Europe and is looking for new clubs closer to his homeland with clubs in Austria or Azerbaijan interested according to the report.
Kurtishi, 28, has been a disappointment here in Brisbane since arriving in August, scoring just the one goal in round two against Perth Glory. Since that day, he hasn’t really threatened in the following games. After making his debut against Adelaide off the bench in the FFA Cup Round of 16, Kurtishi has made 9 appearances for Brisbane -5 start, 4 sub- and was expected by most to move on this January.
In order for Kurtishi to leave the club, Brisbane would have to find a new club willing to buy the player, otherwise under A-League rules they’d have to come to some kind of settlement over the remainder of his contract and that would count against the salary cap. If and when he does depart, it opens up the opportunity for Brisbane to go shopping and bring in the #9 that everyone realises the team needs. Currently with Kurtishi on the books Brisbane have their full allocation of 5 visa players –Polenz, Broich, Henrique, Solórzano and Kurtishi- however if Kurtishi moves and with reports Henrique is about to get citizenship Brisbane will have two vacant visa spots open. It’s still only speculation at the moment, but one of the players whose failed to deliver this season sounds like he’s headed for the exit door.