A- LEAGUE: 2017-18
duo Oriol Riera and Alvaro Cejudo are good signings, and when you add experienced A-League players such as Josh Risdon, Roly Bonevacia and Michael Thwaite, the returning Mark Bridge and fringe Socceroo midfielder Chris Herd, coach Tony Popovic has everything in place to challenge for a fourth Grand Final.
Melbourne City have a new boss in former Wigan Athletic manager Warren Joyce and last year’s FFA Cup winners have added experience in Eugene Galekovic, Marcelo Carrusca, Iacopo La Rocca and Stefan Mauk, who were all part of Adelaide United’s championshipwinning outfit in 2016.
Adelaide themselves are also under new management in the shape of German coach Marco Kurz, who replaces the outgoing Gui Amor. Kurz has been quiet in the transfer market, but the addition of midfielders Johan Absalonsen and Karim Matmour, plus defender Ersan Gulum, should freshen things up. Much will depend, however, on the goals of Baba Diawara, who showed promise after arriving last season and will benefit from a full pre-season.
Brisbane Roar have attracted criticism for a squad that includes a number of older stars, leading to the inevitable “Dad’s Army” nickname, but in exMiddlesbrough and Empoli striker Massimo Maccarone they recruited the most recognisable foreign name during the close season.
Perth Glory remain the only Australian club yet to win a trophy in the A-League era and whether that will change this term depends upon their ability to tighten up a very leaky defence. With that in mind, Jacob Poscoliero and Scott Neville have been brought in, and the acquisition of Spanish midfielders Andreu and Xavi Torres should help to provide a more solid base.
Of the rest, Wellington Phoenix and Newcastle Jets both have new coaches, Darije Kalezic and two-time title winner Ernie Merrick respectively, and both will look to rebuild, while Central Coast Mariners are hoping to continue their incremental progress under Paul Okon, who has signed one-time Perth golden boy Daniel De Silva, and Dutchmen Tom Hiariej from Groningen and Wout Brama from Utrecht.
recognisable... Massimo Maccarone