Broich to depart at seasons end

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(Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac)


There was a massive bombshell just days before Brisbane’s seventh successive A-League Finals series gets underway, with long serving German maestro Thomas Broich announcing his departure from the Roar at the conclusion of this season.

The news, which was initially broke by Marco Monteverde on Tuesday evening, came as a massive shock to everyone both in terms of the timing and the actual announcement.

Earlier in the season we’d seen reports that the now 36 year old was beginning to wind his playing career down, with the intention of going on a post playing career break before launching into a coaching career.

Those plans were recently shelved however, with Broich outlining his intentions to play on for another season in recent weeks, and earlier this week we learned that would not be here in Brisbane.

In the announcement, Broich outlined that he was left in an uncertain position by the Roar in recent discussions and opted to make the decision now in order to focus on the upcoming finals series.

All up since his arrival here in Brisbane back in May 2010, Thomas has made 200 appearances for the club – a fact which escaped all of us- in all competitions, after making his debut in round 1 of the 2010-11 season away to former M1 Derby rival Gold Coast United.

There will be plenty of time to reminisce over the past seven years over the off-season, for now it’s time to focus on the upcoming finals series.

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Moore linked with a return to Rangers

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Tara Croser (News Ltd)


Brisbane Roar Football Operations Manager Craig Moore has tonight been linked with a return to Scottish club Rangers in a role similar to which he currently holds with the Roar.

A report in the Scottish Daily Mail suggests that Moore has emerged as a contender in the role, due to his solid reputation in building up Brisbane’s playing squad.

Moore is a speculative candidate for the role of Director of Football at the Glasgow based club, and could join Melbourne Victory manager Kevin Muscat at his former club. Muscat, who also played for Rangers, has been linked to the vacant managerial role following the dismissal of Mark Warburton.

John Aloisi’s first major appointment as Brisbane Roar manager was to bring Moore back into the clubs ranks after his departure in January 2010, with the duo working closely on ensuring the clubs playing roster was both strong and stable despite the ongoing financial dramas at the club.

Moore made 102 appearances for the club from 1999-2005, winning five Scottish Premier League and four Scottish FA Cups with the club.

Moore is not the only person linked with the role, including a couple of front office members of EPL clubs Southampton and Watford.

The report suggests that Rangers will take their time to consider their options for the role, which might also suggest the rumours of an immanent Kevin Muscat/Craig Moore duel appointment are wide of the mark.

Given how closely Moore and Aloisi have worked together here in Brisbane, it would be a big loss for both the Football Department and the club generally.

Im not sure there’s too much in this, however it’s one to perhaps keep an eye on over the coming weeks and months.


2016-17 Free Agency- Part two

The 2016-17 free agency window opened on December first which means that out of contract players can now negotiate with rival clubs to secure their futures. In part one we took a look at the Brisbane players who are out of contract at the end of the season, today in part two we’ll take a look at players from the nine rival clubs in addition to potential additions from the youth setup.

Before we get into potential free agents from rival clubs it’s worth remembering the current situation for Brisbane Roar, who have 12 players signed for next season. While they have the full allotment of visa spaces available, the two marquee places have been filled by Brett Holman and Tommy Oar.

Youth Promotions
We’ll start by taking a look at the players in the Young Roar set-up where there’s a few players who could be worthy of a chance. It is worth noting however that just two youth graduates –Nicholas D’Agostino and Nathan Konstandopoulos- have made their debut under Aloisi, it’s likely that chances for players in this category are likely to be limited.

At the top of the list for youth players who could get a chance is Young Roar captain Cameron Crestani, whose been apart of the setup for 3 seasons now and has improved his game each season as a central defender.

Crestani has also played limited time at both right and left back which indicates versatility and could make him a prime candidate to provide cover in the first team. With just five defenders signed for next season there will undoubtedly be additions in this area, and Crestani is the prime in house option.

Further forward the likes of Joseph Champness and Nicholas Panetta have started the 2016-17 NYL season strongly and have jumped to the front of the queue in terms of first team prospects. With the likes of Thomas Broich, Manuel Arana and Dimitri Petratos all out of contract there’s a chance that a spot could open up for somebody, although more experienced options here are more likely.

The words of John Aloisi at a fans forum last year about moving players on after two seasons if they haven’t progressed to the first team level indicate that for a number of these players it’s a big 6 months ahead through the second half of the National Youth League and into the NPL Queensland.

While not strictly youth team players, the opportunity to create greater first team opportunity for fringe squad players and scholarship players like Kye Rowles, Connor O’Toole, Shannon Brady, Nicholas D’Agostino and Joe Caletti is also a factor which could limit opportunities for other players to be promoted from the youth squad.

When it comes to free agents, we’ve broken them down into three separate categories; the unlikely high priced options, the nostalgic options and the youngsters with potential.

The unlikely high priced options
– Luke Brattan (Melbourne City), Bruno Fornaroli (Melbourne City), Milos Ninkovic (Sydney FC).

We’ll start the opposition player list with the high priced options and while those mentioned above significantly add to the squad and bring a bit of excitement, although the truth is signings of this calibre from rival clubs are unlikely particularly with both marquee positions full. It’s far more likely that Brisbane looks to either players returning from overseas or visa imported players to fill this category.

The nostalgic options
James Donachie (Melbourne Victory), Henrique (Adelaide United), Jai Ingham (Melbourne Victory), Lachlan Jackson (Newcastle Jets), Mitch Nichols (Western Sydney Wanderers).

Looking to this years group of free agents there are a number of players who could return to Brisbane and add to the squad. At the back the likes of James Donachie or Lachlan Jackson could compete with Daniel Bowles for a central defensive spot should Jade North not return.

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Henrique is always welcome back in Brisbane.

Further forward the likes of Jai Ingham or former Grand Final Henrique could provide an attacking option off the bench, although the wide midfield positions are well stocked with internal options.

In years past Brisbane brought a number of players back for a second spell at the club, with the likes of Steven Lustica, Matt McKay, Jean Carlos Solórzano and Daniel Bowles all returning after previously moving on.

Other former Brisbane players who are currently available include the likes of Luke Brattan, Jason Geria, Matt Jurman, Ben Litfin, Steven Lustica, Liam Reddy and Matt Acton, who’s currently on an injury replacement contract with Melbourne Victory.

The youngsters with potential
Kearyn Baccus (Western Sydney Wanderers), Jordan Elsey (Adelaide United), Scott Galloway (Central Coast Mariners), Alex Grant (Perth Glory), George Howard (Melbourne Victory), Marc Marino (Adelaide United), Lachlan Scott (Western Sydney Wanderers), Jordan Thurtell (Perth Glory), Aryn Williams (Perth Glory).

The final category that we’ll take a look at is young players who’ve shown promise at times in the A-League, which is a group that Brisbane have recruited from in the past. The likes of Jacob Pepper, Diogo Ferreira, Andrew Redmayne, Kofi Danning and Matt Jurman all fit into this category amongst others.

This year’s group is headlined by the likes of Jordan Elsey, Scott Galloway and Alex Grant, who’ve all been semi-regulars in the A-League over the past 18 months and could be worth pursing. Galloway however has only just moved from Melbourne Victory to Central Coast Mariners and Jordan Elsey is out for the season with a knee injury so they may not be viable targets.

The likes of Aryn Williams, who could provide cover across the backline –including at Right Back where depth is limited-, while goalkeeper Jordan Thurtell may fancy a return to Queensland after three seasons in Perth.

While there’s plenty of strikers in the group above, with Brisbane having Katebian and D’Agostino amongst their own free agents it’s unlikely that they will delve into that market, but there’s a few handy options amongst them.

If I had to guess which players Brisbane would target, id say that Brisbane are likely to look internally at their own options more than those of rival clubs. In terms of players, the likes of Henrique, Lachlan Jackson, Aryn Williams, Alex Grant, James Donachie and Scott Galloway appear to be the best suited for Brisbane’s needs although im sure there will be a number of clubs who have similar ideas.

In truth, it’s far more likely that Brisbane re-signs the majority of their free agents, promote one –maybe two- of their own youth prospects and spend the rest of their resources on bringing in high quality imports.

There’s plenty of others to consider, here’s the full list of free agents at the end of the 2016-17 Season
*Visa players in bold.

Adelaide United
Marcelo Carrusca, Sergio Cirio, Jordan Elsey, Eugene Galekovic, Sergio Guardiola (loan), John Hall, Ryan Kitto, Iacopo La Rocca, Marc Marino, Michael Marrone, Dylan McGowan, George Mells, Nikola Mileusnic, Mark Ochieng, Taylor Regan, Isaias Sanchez, Henrique Silva.

Brisbane Roar
Manuel Arana, Thomas Broich, Nicholas D’Agostino, Luke DeVere, Joey Katebian, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Thomas Kristensen, Jamie Maclaren, Jade North, Jacob Pepper, Dimitri Petratos, Michael Theo.

Central Coast Mariners
Jake Adelson, Kwabena Appiah, Josh Bingham, Fabio Ferreira, Jacques Faty, Matthew Fletcher, Scott Galloway, Paul Izzo, Brad McDonald, Nick Montgomery, Ivan Necevski, Roy O’Donovan, Jacob Poscoliero, Michael Neill, Storm Roux, Mickael Tavares.

Melbourne City
Dean Bouzanis, Luke Brattan (loan), Anthony Caceres (loan), Nicholas Colazo (loan), Bruno Fornaroli, Corey Gameiro, Steve Kuzmanovski, Josh Rose, Thomas Sorensen.

Melbourne Victory
Matt Acton, Nicholas Ansell, Mitch Austin, Alan Baro, Max Beister (loan), Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Alastair Bray, Leigh Broxham, James Donachie, Daniel Georgievski, Jason Geria, George Howard, Jai Ingham,  Rashid Mahazi, Lawrence Thomas, James Troisi, Carl Valeri.

Newcastle Jets
Andy Brennan, Mitch Cooper, Labinot Haliti, Andrew Hoole, Lachlan Jackson, Ben Kantarovski, Ben Kennedy, Johnny Koutroumbis, Mao Leilei, Daniel Mullen, Morten Nordstrand, Radovan Pavicevic, Mateo Poljak, Steven Ugarkovic.

Perth Glory
Diego Castro, Joel Chianese, Dino Djulbic, Nick Feely, Richard Garcia, Alex Grant, Chris Harold, Nebosa Marinkovic, Mitchell Oxborrow, Kosta Petratos, Liam Reddy, Josh Risdon, Milan Smiljanic, Jordan Thurtell, Marc Warren, Aryn Williams, Rhys Williams, Brandon Wilson.

Sydney FC
George Blackwood, Bobo, Aaron Calver, David Carney, Milos Dimitrijevic, Rhyan Grant, Filip Holosko, Bernie Ibini (loan), Milos Ninkovic, Chris Oldfield, Brandon O’Neill, Matthew Jurman, Sebastian Ryall, Riley Woodcock.

Wellington Phoenix
Roly Bonevacia, Thomas Doyle, Andrew Durante, Ben Litfin, Lewis Italiano, Roy Krishna, Vince Lia, Ryan Lowry, Michael McGlinchey, Glen Moss, Adam Parkhouse, Alex Rodriguez, Liam Rogerson, Alex Rufer, Hamish Watson, Jacob Tratt.

Western Sydney Wanderers
Kearyn Baccus, Shannon Cole, Dimas Delgado, Brendan Hamill, Jumpei Kusukami, Steven Lustica, Emilio Martinez, Nico Martinez (loan), Scott Neville, Mitch Nichols, Bruno Pinatares, Andrew Redmayne, Lachlan Scott, Mario Shabow, Jaushua Sotirio, Jerrad Tyson, Liam Youlley.


2016-17 Free Agency- Part one

The 2016-17 free agency window opened on December first which means that out of contract players can now negotiate with rival clubs to secure their futures. In part two we’ll take a look at players from the nine rival clubs, but today we’ll focus in on Brisbane’s group of upcoming free agents.

Brisbane had 13 players set to test the market as of December first however Tuesday’s news of club captain Matt McKay brings that number down to 12. All of that means that Manager John Aloisi and Football Operations Manager Craig Moore will be busy over the coming weeks as they shape the 2017-18 Brisbane Roar line-up.

Brisbane’s list of free agents includes a wide ranging group of players, who’ve both played a big part in the squad over the past seasons and are about to enter their prime years. It’s a substantial group of players out of contract, and there’s no doubt that more than a few of them will be highly sought after by rival clubs in the coming months which will make it tough to retain them.

The coaching situation
Before we get into the free agent players we need to address the coaching situation, with both Head Coach John Aloisi and his assistant and brother Ross both coming to the end of their two year contracts.

Given everything that the duo have been confronted with off the field, the results have been strong which has made the duo a popular pair with Brisbane supporters.

Unsurprisingly reports of interest from rival clubs has began to emerge, with Adelaide reportedly looking at bringing one or both of the brothers back to their hometown should Guillermo Amor move on at the end of the season.

The ageing veterans
Thomas Broich
Since arriving in Brisbane having admitted to falling out of love with Football, Broich has gone on to become the best player in the history of the A-League with five major honours to his name.

Having amassed the second most appearances in club history -182 in all competitions- time is beginning to wind down for the 35 year old, although over the first third of the season Thomas has shown that he’s still got a bit left in the locker and remains an important part of the Brisbane attack.

The big complication surrounding Thomas is that similarly to the recently re-signed Matt McKay he will need to downgrade from his current marquee position to fit within the salary cap.

There’s no doubt that it’s entirely possible to find room for Broich within the salary cap going forward, however this decision is likely to –and absolutely should- be solely one for Thomas to decide if he wishes to continue his career or transition into his post playing days.

If Thomas Broich decides he wants to play on, there absolutely should be a spot on the roster for him, while if he does decide to retire it will no doubt be a sad day, but his legacy as the best player in the history of the A-League is already entrenched.

Jade North
As the leader of the backline, Jade provides a great degree of experience amongst what is a youthful group of central defenders around him. In addition to the vast experience North brings to the table, the now 34 year old is still near the top of his game and has formed a solid pairing with Luke DeVere over the first third of the season.

Similarly to Thomas Broich the decision will likely come down to if he wishes to continue on, although if he does play on there’s a good chance that he remains with the Roar.

Michael Theo
Having made just 15 appearances in the past two seasons, this was always going to be a big season for Michael who’s seen his place as first choice goalkeeper challenged by Jamie Young.

Theo has gone a long way to re-establishing himself in goals this season, with a string of impressive saves ensuring that he’s played in all nine games so far.

Given that Theo has regained his first choice status it’s likely that a new deal will be agreed at some point, particularly given that he seems to be settled in Brisbane, running an academy for children through the school holidays.

The prime year players
Luke DeVere
After missing the entire 2015-16 season with a serious thigh injury, Luke has returned to the side and barely missed a beat in the opening nine rounds. Having formed a strong partnership with Jade North, DeVere has become one of the most important players on the current roster.

Looking ahead it seems unlikely that DeVere would depart Brisbane for a rival club in the league, although if Luke still has ambitions of playing overseas in either Asia or Europe this could be a good time for him to try his luck once again.

Further complicating the decision for Luke is a potential appearance at the 2018 World Cup, with Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou a noted fan of the central defender.

Given all of his injury concerns however, and the loyalty that Brisbane Roar and John Aloisi have shown him, the desire to repay that faith and the regular playing time on offer will likely be enough to see him re-sign.

Jamie Maclaren
The free agency of Jamie has already been in the headlines for the past few weeks and it’s likely that we’ll see plenty more headlines before the Socceroos striker makes his decision.

Two weeks ago Brisbane made their first offer to the striker, with his representatives declaring the offer as insulting and there have seemingly been no further negotiations since.

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A lot depends on this man’s decision

With 24 goals in 35 appearances for Brisbane, interest in the striker has unsurprisingly been considerable, with contract offers from both rival A-League and overseas clubs reportedly coming in. The fact that Brisbane have already filled their two allocated marquee positions for next seasons further complicates the situation.

It goes without saying that re-signing Jamie is – and should be- amongst the highest priorities in terms of the players off contract, although the decision is one that could drag on until January as the Maclaren camp seeks overseas offers.

At this stage, it’s unclear yet which way this will end up, though the implications of this decision will shape Brisbane’s 2016-17 side, and the remainder of the free agency decision making processes.

Dimitri Petratos
There’s very few players who’ve divided people’s opinions more than Dimi, although over the past 18 months or so he’s shown signs of adding consistency to his already obvious talent.

Given that he’s approaching the prime years of his career, it’s likely that Petratos will attract a fair amount of interest on the open market, both in the A-League and potentially overseas.

With the demographics of Brisbane’s roster consisting mostly of players either under the age of 23 or over 30, it’s important to keep the few players who fall within those two windows, and Petratos is one of the few who does.

The foreign imports
Manuel Arana
Having arrived late in the pre-season, Arana spent the first part of the season gaining his fitness before making his debut it round 5 against Melbourne City.

While Arana hasn’t seen a great deal of game time yet, in his limited game time he’s shown a direct style and the ability to run in behind defences which is something that has been missing in wider areas.

Any potential negotiations for next season are likely to be put on hold until later in the season until he’s got more minutes under his belt and a more accurate decision can be made. With the likes of Shannon Brady already in the A-League squad, in addition to Joseph Champness and Jayden Prasad in the youth squad as winger options, there could be an internal replacement in place.

Thomas Kristensen
Thomas arrived from Denmark as a replacement for Miguel Corona who returned to his former club in Spain halfway through his two year contract and has fitted in well to the Brisbane way of play.

The role is different to that of Corona given the change of style this season under Aloisi, however in that more defensive minded midfielders role Kristensen has provided good cover for the back four while getting forward and contributing at the other end of the park with two goals so far.

Given how well that Kristensen has fitted in, it would be a boost going forward if Brisbane could secure the 33 year old for an extra season although as is always the case with imports, off-field factors and settling in is an important consideration.
The youngsters
Nicholas D’Agostino
Having shone for the Young Roar side in both the NPL Queensland and the NYL, D’Agostino was rewarded with a one year deal as a Scholarship player.

While D’Agostino has only the one unused substitute appearance to his name this season, his form in the National Youth League has indicated that his game is continuing to improve.

Due to the age of both D’Agostino and Joey Katebian comparisons are easily drawn, and it could well come down to a case of one or the other. Of the two I would suggest that D’Agostino is a little better all-around player and should be the priority, particularly given he’s a player whose grown and developed through the Brisbane youth system.

Joey Katebian
Perhaps a surprise signing after being released from Melbourne Victory at the end of last season, Joey has provided additional depth upfront behind star striker Jamie Maclaren.

So far we haven’t seen a great deal of Katebian in the A-League side with limited minutes off the bench so far, although a hat-trick in the NYL showed his talent.

With Katebian –and also D’Agostino- it could be a case of one or the other as it’s likely that there will only be room on the roster for one up and coming striker, particularly if D’Agostino is no longer a scholarship player.

Nathan Konstandopoulos
After getting a taste of the A-League at his hometown club Adelaide United, Konstandopoulos moved to Brisbane as part of the Young Roar side in the NPL season before being upgraded to a scholarship deal ahead of the new season.

So far this season Nathan has been on the periphery of the side, but in his limited playing time has shown enough to suggest that there’s a role for him on the roster going forward.

Jacob Pepper
Pepper was signed to be a stopgap for a younger player to earn his place in the side while providing depth to the first team roster as we’ve seen with the likes of Diogo Ferreira in years gone by.

With that in mind it’s likely that Jacob’s stay in Brisbane will be a short one, but with the constructs of the league you need players with versatility are important and while an extension shouldn’t be excluded from consideration it’s unlikely.

In an ideal world, Brisbane would re-sign the majority of their free agents here with the likes of DeVere, Petratos and Maclaren are likely to be at the top of their list, while hopefully keeping a couple of veterans around the locker room.

Due to the number of players Brisbane have out of contract currently, it’s likely the side will look very different at the start of the next season.


Brisbane, Maclaren at loggerheads over extension

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Will he stay or will he go?

Brisbane striker Jamie Maclaren’ future in Brisbane has been a hot topic over the last 24 hours with representatives of the striker and Brisbane Roar publically sparring in the media over a new contract.

The drama started back on Monday before escalating in the last 24 hours with Brisbane making their first offer to the player, which was labelled as insulting by Maclaren’s agent Paddy Dominguez, and the fallout left doubts over the players’ future in Brisbane.

In response to the rejected offer John Aloisi has indicated that if the goal is to maximise the financial gain than Brisbane would be unlikely to meet their demands, with the Roar locked in to marquee deals for Brett Holman and Tommy Oar going forward.

Representatives of both Maclaren and Brisbane are expected to meet in Sydney tonight ahead of tomorrows’ clash with Western Sydney. Adding to the drama this week is the rumours surrounding Robbie Keane, with the former Republic of Ireland international being linked to a marquee role with the Roar over the second half of the season.

Maclaren has been a big part of the success so far in the Aloisi era, with the striker scoring 22 goals in 33 games since arriving from Perth ahead of the 2015-16 season and his form has attracted the interest of both rival suitors and the National Team.

Here’s a few thoughts I had on this today
1) None of this is really surprising if you sit down and think about it, Maclaren is out of contract at the end of the season and it’s getting to the time where players are able to begin negotiations with other clubs. No doubt that Brisbane want to keep him but there’s also likely to be a long list of suitors who would be interested, some of which may like to acquire his services in January. With that in mind it’s no surprise that negotiations have picked up this week.

2) It’s not just with Maclaren that this will be an issue, a quick look at the upcoming free agents from Brisbane suggests that there’s a dilemma upcoming for Football Operations Manager Craig Moore. The likes of Jade North, Joey Katebian, Dimitri Petratos, Luke DeVere, Michael Theo, Nicholas D’Agostino, Manuel Arana and Jacob Pepper will all be off contract at seasons end and the likes of Petratos and DeVere could also attract similar levels of interest on the open market.

3) The situation gets worse when you factor in that Brisbane have already allocated their marquee spots to Tommy Oar and Brett Holman for next season, which will create some additional cap space. The Roar will however have to try and sign up current marquee duo Thomas Broich and Matt McKay within that freed up space, so the advantages might not be as great as expected.

4) I think it’s likely that that Maclaren will remain in Brisbane for at least the remainder of the season given his integral role in the way the side lines up, and the lack of a genuine alternative currently on the roster in addition to the upcoming ACL campaign. After that however seems to be a genuine toss-up for next season and beyond.

5) In previous seasons the January transfer window has been about the arrivals, with likes of Jade North, Steven Lustica (twice), Stef Nijland, Julius Davies, Jerome Polenz, Andrija Kaluderovic and latterly Tommy Oar all arriving. The most notable departures at this time of the season is a shorter list headlined by Mensur Kurtishi after his ill-fated stint at the club, while the likes of Reinaldo, Kwame Yeboah, Yuji Takahashi and Rocky Visconte are others whose departed at the halfway mark in recent years. Heading into this transfer window, instead of trying to add to the squad it could well be a case of fending off interest in the current playing group.

6) From Jamie Maclaren’s point of view, there’s a lot of factors to way up here which could lead this series of negotiations to become more protracted than both he or Brisbane Roar would like. Among the many things that Maclaren and his representatives will need to weigh up are, salary, length & terms of the contract,  is it time to go overseas, is the club the right fit and most importantly playing time with his Socceroos ambitions in mind. Brisbane has been an ideal fit for Maclaren since his arrival from Perth in July 2015, and now he needs to decide if that still remains his best option.


Roar looking to Keane in January?

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According to reports from Dominic Bossi in the Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Roar could make an approach for Robbie Keane in the upcoming mid-season transfer window.

In the report on the SMH website, Brisbane Managing Director Mark Kingsman suggested that while an approach hadn’t been made, one could be on the way in January when the window opens.

“When you’ve got somebody of Robbie Keane’s calibre and pedigree, I’m sure every A-League club would be interested but we haven’t made an approach yet,” Kingsman said. “We will make the call.” Brisbane MD Mark Kingsman- Talking to Sydney Morning Herald.

Keane, 36, scored 10 goals in 20 games for LA Galaxy in the MLS this season, making 16 starts and helping his side to a 3rd placed finish in the Western Conference before losing to Colorado in the playoffs.

After scoring 83 goals in 125 games for the Galaxy over 5 seasons including two MLS Cup victories, Keane announced he would depart LA at the conclusion of the season making him an option of A-League sides in the second half of the season.

Should Brisbane manage to sign Keane, he would fill the currently vacant high profile marquee position and be a boost to the Roar both on and off the field as they enter the latter stages of the season and the AFC Champions League.

The other option to sign Keane would be as a guest player, which would limit the former Republic of Ireland international to 14 appearances within the A-League.

Here’s a few thoughts I had regarding this news.
1) While a lot of these stories can be dismissed as just general transfer speculation, the addition of direct quotes from Kingsman indicating a bid would be on the way in January adds legitimacy to this particular rumour.

2) Despite his age, Keane has done a good job in a similar league to the A-League in recent times as evidenced by his 10 goals in the 2016 season and he still likely has something to give in the A-League.

3) In terms of the squad, it can be argued that a back-up striker is potentially an area than can be upgraded, with the likes of Katebian and D’Agostino failing to take their chances and maybe not quite ready yet. A potential front 4 of Petratos, Holman, Oar & Maclaren, with either Borrello or Arana, Broich and Keane on the bench would be the most potent set of options in the league.

4) Speaking of D’Agostino and Katebian however, the arrival of Keane would potentially impact the growth of both, with the young duo likely to be on the periphery of the squad. With the Youth League all but over when this move would happen, and neither being eligible for the NPL squad, they find themselves in a position where they aren’t playing which could spell trouble for one or both with the duo signing one year senior contracts in the off-season.

5) A big question mark for supporters over the ownership is there overall commitment and ambition for Brisbane Roar, and the addition of Keane should it happen would be a sign that they are prepared to invest in the playing squad beyond the A-League salary cap. It wouldn’t fully remove question marks over the Bakrie Groups ownership of the Roar and no doubt there would still be a long way to go to remove doubts, but with expansion and competition in the marketplace potentially on the table in the next year or so, it would be a good step to renewed confidence given the tumultuous last 18 months.

6) With due respect to Craig Moore, Thomas Broich and Matt McKay who have taken up marquee positions with the Roar, the potential signing of Keane would be the first time that Brisbane have brought a big name player into the market, and would be a an interesting case study to see how many extra fans turn up to games.

7) The other possibility surrounding the potential arrival of Keane could be that Jamie Maclaren could be headed in the opposite direction towards either Europe or Asian clubs. Maclaren, who’s scored 22 goals in 33 games for Brisbane is out of contract at the end of the season and while the Roar would no doubt like to keep him, could cash in and use Keane as a short term replacement while scouting for a longer term solution. It’s unlikely, but it can’t be ruled out either.

8) With Brisbane’s schedule likely to get busy in the second half of the year given the possibility of a direct entry into the AFC Champions League, the Roar could be set for anywhere between 10 and 13 A-League games between February and May in addition to 6 (potentially 8 if they get out of the group) in the Champions League. With that in mind additions to the squad would not be the worst idea in the world to fight on both fronts.

9) It’s worth mentioning that signing Keane remains a long shot for a host of reasons, with factors such as the owners genuine willingness to stump up the money, the FFA’s willingness to contribute to the third marquee position and interest from other clubs all potential stumbling blocks. Since the conclusion of the MLS season Keane has been linked with a number of clubs including Shamrock Rovers in his homeland, and no doubt there will be plenty more potential suitors emerging in the coming weeks before he sits down to make a decision.


Off-Season Transfer Recap

With the A-League now entering the pre-season it seems like a good time to recap the changes across the competition since Adelaide won their first Championship back in early May. It’s still too early to make any predictions for the upcoming season, and almost all sides still have some big recruitment decisions to make or announce but plenty has happened in the last six weeks or so.

Adelaide United
In: Ryan Kitto (Newcastle Jets), Marc Marino, Ben Garuccio (Melbourne City), Jesse Makarounas (Melbourne Victory).

Out: Craig Goodwin (Sparta Rotterdam), Eli Babalj (AZ Alkmaar- Loan Return), Pablo Sanchez (Released), Bruce Kamau, Ruon Tongyik (Melbourne City) Ben Warland, Mark Ochieng, John Solari, Dylan Smith (All released).

Current best available XI: Galekovic, Marrone, McGowan, La Rocca, Isaias, Mauk, Carrusca, Dugandzic, Cirio, Djite.
Reserves: Hall, Elsey, Garuccio, Mells, Makarounas, Kitto, Marino.

Starting with the defending Champions and Adelaide have managed to keep a large portion of their Championship winning roster in tact with just Craig Goodwin, Bruce Kamau and Pablo Sanchez moving on from the Grand Final winning side. In their stead are a few South Australians playing elsewhere in the league with Ben Garuccio, Marc Marino, Jesse Makarounas and Ryan Kitto adding extra depth.

The one position still to be filled by the Reds is the right wing role where Bruce Kamau established himself last season. They do however have a visa spot to play with so they could yet bring in a quality replacement. All up though things are looking relatively smooth for the defending champs.

Brisbane Roar
In: Kye Rowles (Palm Beach), Connor O’Toole (Adelaide United Youth), Jacob Pepper (Western Sydney).

Out: Devante Clut (Newcastle), Jean Carlos Solórzano (Rochedale Rovers), Shane Stefanutto (Retired), Javier Hervas (Zeljeznicar), Steven Lustica (Western Sydney), James Donachie (Melbourne Victory), Henrique Silva (Negeri Sembilan), Miguel Corona (Almeria).


Current best available XI:
  Young, Hingert, North, Bowles, Brown, Pepper, Petratos, McKay, Oar, Broich, Maclaren.

Reserves: Theo, Polenz, DeVere, Rowles, O’Toole, Caletti, Borrello, Brady.

It’s been another off-season of discontent in the river city with the clubs financial and ownership dramas once again in the foreground. There has also been a fair drain of talent off the roster leaving John Aloisi’ side looking rather thin at this stage.

The likes of Stefanutto, Corona, Henrique and Donachie have all moved on or retired, with just youngsters Rowles and O’Toole, plus ex Wanderer Jacob Pepper as additions. The focus for John Aloisi will likely be in the middle and front third where departures have left his options limited.

Central Coast Mariners
In: Ivan Necevski (Sydney FC), Jacques Faty (Sydney FC), Mickael Tavares (Sydney FC), Connor Pain (Melbourne Victory), Blake Powell, Kwabena Appiah (Wellington Phoenix), Jake Adelson, Adam Berry (Youth promotions).

Out: Luis Garcia (Retired), Anthony Kalik (Hajduk Split), Mitch Austin (Melbourne. Victory), Alistair Bray, Dan Heffernan, Tomislav Uskok, Francesco Stella (All Released).

Current best available XI: Necevski, Roux, Faty, Poscoliero, Neill, Montgomery, Tavares, Ferreira, Powell, Pain, O’Donovan.
Reserves: Izzo, Heward-Belle, Adelson, McGing, Ascroft, J. Rose, Berry, L. Rose, Appiah, McDonald, Bingham,  Buhagiar, Fletcher.

Last season was a  have undergone something of a transformation in terms of their squad with Tony Walmsley adding 8 players to his squad so far. Most of those recruits will add some much needed experience to the spine of the team, however they still do perhaps lack the game breakers to go on and make an impact in the competition.

With 24 players signed it’s likely that this is the squad which the Mariners will enter the new season with, however if there was to be any new additions a creative player to link the midfield to the front third would be a handy addition.

Melbourne City
In: Luke Brattan, Anthony Caceres (Man City- Loan), Bruce Kamau,  Ruon Tongyik  (Adelaide United), Manny Muscat (Wellington Phoenix), Daniel Arzani (FFA Centre of Excellence).

Out: Aaron Mooy (Man City), Harry Novillo (Manisaspor), Alex Wilkinson, Michael Zullo (Sydney FC), Ben Garuccio, Marc Marino (Adelaide), Patrick Kisnorbo (Retired), Aaron Hughes, James Brown, Jason Trifiro, Wade Dekker (All released).

Current best available XI: Sorensen, Franjic, Muscat, Chapman, Clisby, Malik, Brattan, Caceres, Kamau, Fitzgerald, Fornaroli.
Reserves: Bouzanis, Retre, Tongyik, Melling, Arzani, Gameiro, Kuzmanovski.

City have spent up big in the closed season with a number of additions, and the possibility of more to come. A big part of their squad building has been swaps with their big brother in Manchester, with marquee man Aaron Mooy departing for England while Luke Brattan and Anthony Caceres return to the A-League on loan moves.

The real position of need for City appears to be at back where they could do with both a central defender and a left back, however rumours are swirling that they’re about to take advantage of the FFA’s newly introduced third marquee rule and bring Tim Cahill to the A-League.

Melbourne Victory
In: James Donachie (Brisbane), Mitch Austin (Central Coast), Alan Baro (Ponferradina), Lucas Spinella, Stefan Nigro (Victory Youth).

Out: Kosta Barbarouses, Gui Finkler (Wellington Phoenix), Thomas Deng (PSV Eindhoven-loan), Jesse Makarounas (Adelaide), Mathieu Delpierre (Retired), Dylan Murnane, Giancarlo Gallifuoco, Joey Katebian, Archie Thompson (All Released).

Current best available XI: Vukovic, Geria, Donachie, Baro, Galloway, Broxham, Valeri, Bozanic, Austin, Ben Khalfallah, Berisha.
Reserves: Thomas, Nigro, Ansell, Georgievski, Mahazi, Ingham, Howard.

Victory have lost a number of key players in the aftermath of their Champions League exit with Delpierre Finkler, Barbarouses, Deng and long-time fan favourite Archie Thompson all moving on.

Replacements have been slow in arriving so far, but they have upgraded their backline with the addition of ex-Roar defender James Donachie and Spaniard Alan Baro. Creativity in midfield and another wide attack are amongst the likely players the Victory will bring in before the start of the season.

Newcastle Jets
In: Devante Clut (Brisbane), Wayne Brown (SJK Seinäjoki), Daniel Alessi (Western Sydney), Andrew Hoole (Sydney), Jack Duncan (Randers), Ivan Vujica (Dinamo).

Out: Mark Birighitti (Heading to Europe-TBC), Ryan Kitto (Adelaide), Cameron Watson, Enver Alivodic, Leonardo, Josh Barresi, Brendon Lundy (All Released).

Scott Miller has a reasonably well rounded squad entering the pre-season, however the one area that still needs to be addressed is upfront, where Newcastle have a bunch of unknowns outside of Nordstrand and the returning Andrew Hoole. The addition of Devante Clut will also add some much needed goals from midfield.

Of those that have departed the Hunter, the biggest loss would undoubtedly be goalkeeper Mark Birighitti who is trying his luck in Europe, however the addition of former understudy Jack Duncan ensures Newcastle will have solid options to choose from in goal.

Current best available XI: Duncan, Hoffman, Mullen, Boogaard, Vujica, Ugarkovic, Poljak, Clut, Brown, Hoole, Nordstrand .
Reserves: Kennedy, Cowburn, Alessi, Muata-Marlow, Jackson, Kantarovski, Cooper, Brennan, Haliti, Pavicevic.

Perth Glory
In: Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough), Joseph Mills (Oldham), Chris Herd (Chesterfield), Liam Reddy (Western Sydney), Brandon Wilson (Burnley), Nick Feely (Unknown).

Out: Ruben Zadkovich (Retired), Jerrad Tyson (Western Sydney), Gyorgy Sandor, Diogo Ferreira, Hagi Gligor, Krisztian Vadocz, Ante Covic, Jacob Collard (All Released).

Current best available XI: Reddy, Risdon, Djulbic, Lowry, Mills, R. Williams, Herd, Marinkovic, Harold, Castro, Keogh.
Reserves: Feely, Thurtell, A. Williams, Grant, Warren, Wilson, Oxborrow, Petratos, Garcia, Taggart.

Perth have been by far the busiest side this off-season in strengthening their roster ahead of the new season with the emphasis over in the west on bringing home the many talented West Australians playing elsewhere in the league and abroad.

To that end the additions of Williams, Herd and Taggart who is like a new addition despite signing in January make the squad much stronger and cover the losses of Covic, Sandor and Vadocz. A lot will still depend on marquee duo Diego Castro and Andy Keogh however.

Sydney FC
In: Alex Wilkinson, Michael Zullo (Melbourne City), Josh Brillante (Fiorentina).

Out: Jacques Faty, Mickael Tavares, Ivan Necevski (Central Coast), Ali Abbas (Pohang Steelers), Andrew Hoole (Newcastle), Zac Anderson (Emirates Club), Shane Smeltz (Kedah), Chris Naumoff (Retired), Robert Stambolziev, Jacob Tratt, Riley Woodcock, Alex Mullen, Anthony Bouzanis (All Released).

Current best available XI: Janjetovic, Ryall, Wilkinson, Jurman, Zullo, O’Neill, Dimitrijevic, Ninkovic, Holosko, Carney, Blackwood.

Reserves: Grant, Calver, Brillante.

After a disappointing season last time around Graham Arnold has cleaned house with 13 players departing the club, most of which spent large parts of last season out of the side due to form or fitness.

So far replacements are rather thin on the ground with just City duo Alex Wilkinson and Michael Zullo coming in, along with the recently announced Josh Brillante who returns to the A-League after a spell with Fiorentina in Italy’s Serie A. Out of contract duo Alex Brosque and Matt Simon are both expected to re-sign, although neither has done so at this stage.

Wellington Phoenix
In: Kosta Barbarouses, Gui Finkler (Melbourne Victory).

Out: Manny Muscat (Melbourne City), Justin Gulley, James McGarry, Oliver Sail (Wellington United), Kwabena Appiah, Blake Powell (Central Coast Mariners), Ben Sigmund, Albert Riera (Retired), Troy Danaskos (Released).

Current best available XI: Moss, Fenton, Durante, Fox, Doyle, Lia, Bonevacia, Finkler, McGlinchey, Barbarouses, Krishna.
Reserves: Italiano, Ridenton, Rufer, Rodriguez, Watson, Rogerson.

News from across the Tasman has been a bit sparse in recent weeks with just Victory duo Gui Finkler and Kosta Barbarouses as confirmed signings at this stage which suggests that there are signings to come.

The main area which figure to be focused on in terms of recruitment are at the back, where Ben Sigmund’s retirement leaves a hole in the middle of defence and there appears to be a general lack of depth.

Western Sydney Wanderers
In: Jerrad Tyson (Perth), Steven Lustica (Brisbane), Bruno Pinatares (Cerro), Artiz Borda (Alaves), Jumpei Kusukami (Sagan Tosu), Robert Cornthwaite (Selangor).

Out: Mark Bridge (Chiangrai United), Dario Vidosic (Liaoning Whowin), Daniel Alessi (Newcastle), Josh Macdonald (Wollongong Wolves), Albero Aguilar, Andreu Guerao, Romeo Castelen, Golgol Mebrahtu, Federico Piovoccari, Matt Sim, Liam Reddy, Shayne D’Cunha, Alusine Fofanah, Jacob Pepper (All Released).

First XI: Redmayne, Neville, Borda, Topor-Stanley, Jamieson, Pinatares, Delgado, Nichols, Sotirio, Kusukami, Shabow .

Reserves: Tyson, Cole, Cornthwaite, Aspropotamitis, Hamill, Bandiera,  Baccus, Lustica, Scott, Youlley.

It’s been another off-season cull from Tony Popovic with 14 players moving on despite a top two finish and Grand Final berth. Of those who’ve moved on, perhaps the loss most closely felt will be Mark Bridge whose been an integral part of Wanderers since the club formed in 2013.

The squad has been strengthened at the back with Spaniard Artiz Borda and former Socceroo Robert Cornthwaite joining the squad. It’s upfront however where the holes are for the Wanderers with limited options as things stand as evidenced by youngster Mario Shabow being listed in the current best XI. There’s likely to be at least one new striker joining the red and black before October, while Brendan Santalab’s new contract is yet to be officially confirmed.