Free Agency Options for Brisbane

**The following is a re-post of something I posted over at Football Central- originally dated 17/12/15

With December comes the official reopening of the A-League free agency market. This means players whose contracts expire in May are now able to negotiate with rival clubs.

For Brisbane Roar, who have eleven players out of contract, it looms as an important time for manager John Aloisi and Football Operations Manager Craig Moore as they seek to retain their stars and strengthen their squad for seasons to come.

Yesterday we looked at Brisbane’s crop of players coming off contract, and today we’ll look at those around the league who are coming off contract and which ones could potentially be a fit for the Roar.

We’ll start by looking at the players coming off contract at the other 9 A-League clubs.

 

Adelaide United (13)
Dylan McGowan, James Jeggo, Craig Goodwin, Dylan Smith, Ben Warland, Mark Ochieng, Jordan Elsey, Bruce Kamau, Pablo Sanchez, George Mells, Mate Dugandzic, John Solari, Eli Babalj (loan from AZ Alkmaar).

Central Coast Mariners (4)
Matt Sim, Daniel Heffernan, Josh Bingham, Tomislav Uskok.

Melbourne City (14)
Connor Chapman, James Brown, Jacob Melling, Robert Koren, Marc Marino, Jack Clisby, David Williams, Stefan Mauk, Jason Trifiro, Patrick Kisnorbo, Wade Dekker, Aaron Hughes, Michael Zullo.

Melbourne Victory (9)
Nicholas Ansell, Kosta Barbarouses, Leigh Broxham, Gui Finkler, Dylan Murnane, Mathieu Delpierre, Archie Thompson, Jesse Makarounas, Giancarlo Gallifuoco.

Newcastle Jets (12)
Joshua Barresi, Brendan Lundy, Mark Birighitti, Ben Kantarovski, Enver Alivodic, Lachlan Jackson, Jason Hoffman, Cameron Watson, David Carney, Leonardo, Milos Trifunovic, Ryan Kitto.

Perth Glory (16)
Diogo Ferreira, Ruben Zadkovich, Josh Risdon, Richard Garcia, Chris Harold, Sidnei Sciola, Michael Thwaite, Jordan Thurtell, Jacob Collard, Mitchell Oxborrow, Ante Covic, Guyon Fernandez, Diego Castro, Marc Warren, Hagi Gligor, Aryn Williams.

Sydney FC (14)
Ali Abbas, Alex Brosque, Alex Gersbach, Vedran Janjetovic, Chris Naumoff, Aaron Calver, Jacob Tratt, Jacques Faty, Riley Woodcock, Robert Stambolziev, Alex Mullen, Ivan Necevski, Zac Anderson, Anthony Bouzanis.

Wellington Phoenix (15)
Alex Rodriguez, Michael McGlinchey, Kwabena Appiah, Tom Doyle, Manny Muscat, Lewis Italiano, Vince Lia, Ben Sigmund, Andrew Durante, Roy Krishna, Matthew Ridenton, Alex Rufer, Troy Danaskos, Blake Powell, Justin Gulley.

Western Sydney Wanderers (14)
Daniel Alessi, Dean Bouzanis, Romeo Castelen, Shannon Cole, Alusine Fofanah, Gol Gol Mebrahtu, Andreu, Federico Piovoccari, Brendan Santalab, Dimas, Alberto, Josh MacDonald, Liam Reddy, Jaushua Sotirio.

Below we’ll break it down position by position and take a look a few players who could be interesting options from other teams for next season.

Goalkeepers- Jordan Thurtell

It’s unlikely that Brisbane will be in the market for a first choice goalkeeper this season, however should Theo’s injury issues continue or Young depart they could be forced into looking for a new understudy.

While there are a couple of in-house options, there’s also an interesting option in the shape of young Jordan Thurtell, a young keeper currently with Perth Glory. The 19 year old who grew up in the Sunshine Coast region hasn’t made his debut as yet for Perth but he’s playing regularly in the youth side for the Glory.

The Roar also have the option of upgrading one of their NYL shot stoppers with both Andre Jannese and Tomi Bilic showing good potential. Jannese seems to have the upper hand at the moment as evidenced by his elevation to the A-League bench ahead of Bilic, and Aloisi is clearly a fan of the former AIS keeper.

Full-Backs– Craig Goodwin, Michael Zullo, Diogo Ferreira

The one position that we know will be open next season is at left back, and luckily for Brisbane there’s a host of options out there for John Aloisi to fill that void.

Either of the first two options mentioned above in Goodwin and Zullo would fit the bill of a Brisbane full-back; solid defensively and having the ability to get forward and make overlapping runs beyond Thomas Broich.

Obviously Zullo has connections with Brisbane having made his debut here in 2007, however Craig Goodwin also has a small connection to the Roar as he played a part in John Aloisi’ young Melbourne Heart side of 2012; eventually making his A-League debut at the end of that season.

The questions here are fitness related for Zullo as he’s had a string of injuries in recent time, while Goodwin has played more as a winger recently as opposed to a left back and there have been questions in the past about his defensive abiltities.

The other outside possibility is another former Brisbane player Diogo Ferreira, who could reprise his role of the 2013-14 season where he served well as a defensive utility filling in at both full-back roles and possibly in a sitting midfield position. It’s an unlikely one, but it could be an option if they view Corey Brown as the long term successor at left back, or if the rumours of Jerome Polenz moving on are true.

Central Defenders-Lachlan Jackson, Michael Thwaite, Nick Ansell, Jordan Elsey.

With three central defenders out of contract at the end of the season, the heart of the defence is an area that Aloisi will need to be strong in. Luckily for he and the Roar there are a few options available.

Michael Thwaite, who was strongly linked to Brisbane in the off-season is a free agent at the end of the year so Aloisi could reignite his interest there, although Thwaite alongside North would be the oldest defensive pairing in the league.

Others include Nick Ansell, Jordan Elsey and Lachlan Jackson, with the latter having left the Roar in June to take up a contract at the Jets. Jackson has been a solid ever-present at the back so far this season in Scott Miller’s Newcastle side, and has the added advantage of knowing the Brisbane system having spent a number of years in the youth set-up here.

Across the backline there aren’t a lot of options for the Roar in their youth set-up, with only Cameron Crestani and Jaiden Walker having played enough youth football to be realistically in the picture, both of which would be a stretch. One outside possibility is full-back Mark Rodic who arrived from Blacktown this pre-season after strong form in the NSWNPL.

Midfielders– Gui Finkler, James Brown, Hagi Gligor, Stefan Mauk, Mitch Hore, Adam Sawyer.

With three midfielders out of contact there’s a good chance that Brisbane will be brining in at least one midfielder, who that is and the role they fit into however will depend on which players leave however. At the high end you have an elite midfielder like Gui Finkler, who in combination with McKay and Broich would look fantastic in a Roar jersey.  It would be difficult to pry him away from the Victory, although a substantial offer may be beyond their reach with their huge commitments to other players already locked in.

Other options could include the likes of James Brown, Hagi Gligor and Stefan Mauk, all players who are still young with upside and have been in and out of their respective sides this season.

There’s also a decent chance that should Brisbane maintain the majority of their midfield depth they could look to fill any holes by promoting from within, in which case the likes of Mitch Hore and Adam Sawyer would be in contention.

Forwards-Kosta Barbarouses, Roy Krishna, Jaushua Sotirio, Brendan Santalab, Wade Dekker.

Upfront is an area where Brisbane are also reasonably strong, but with Brandon Borrello no certainty to re-sign and Solórzano also out of contract there could be a need in the final third.

The best two options currently on the market are Kosta Barbarouses and Roy Krishna, who’ve both scored plenty of goals in the past 18 months and would fit in very nicely on the right side of Brisbane’s front third. It would probably take a massive offer to get either of them to leave their current clubs, but with so many players out of contract it’s a possibility that shouldn’t be excluded.

Other options to fill a more rotational role could include Western Sydney duo Jaushua Sotirio and Brendan Santalab. Sotirio has shown his versatility by playing on both sides of the park this season, while Santalab –admittedly an unpopular player around the league- could provide some energy and spark upfront which could bring back the defensive pressure lost when Berisha moved to Melbourne.

The other option is Wade Dekker, a young player at Melbourne City whose shown that goal scoring is natural for him as evidenced by being last seasons NYL Golden Boot. It’s unlikely he’d leave Melbourne at this stage, but he has worked with Aloisi in the past so you never know.

Like in the backline, there’s no obvious candidate who can step up into the first team next season, with the majority of the Roar’s better young attackers only in their first year of NYL football and still needing more development before being considered.

That’s just a selection of the players who could fit for the Roar next season, although it should be mentioned that with two visa spots free for next season Aloisi could look to the European market for players as well.

Whatever happens it will be interesting to see how he reshapes this squad, as he’s only really been able to make a handful of moves to date.

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