The best new signing at every Hyundai A-League club
With the window officially closing overnight, the off-season of transfer activity has finally come to an end.
There are new names, rising stars and familiar faces who have been on the move, giving the Hyundai A-League a nice shake up for the 2019/20 Season.
All eleven clubs have undoubtedly sealed some great business, but which signings have stood out the most, and be difference makers for their side’s chances of silverware?
Here’s www.aleague.com.au’s list. And, while you're here, check out the full list of Hyundai A-League signings for the 2019/20 Season.
Adelaide United – Kristian Opseth
Adelaide were crying out for a striker following the absence of Caltex Socceroo Craig Goodwin, and it seems coach Gertjan Verbeek has found the answer in Norwegian front man Kristian Opseth.
Opseth made a modest 15-minute debut in his side’s 3-2 loss to Sydney FC in Round 1, but Reds fans will have great expectations for their new striker when he reaches full fitness. If he can replicate the form of his career in Europe – which saw him burst the net in Norway and Turkey – Opseth might just be the solution to Adelaide’s striking woes.
Honourable mentions – Riley McGree, James Troisi, Michael Maria
Brisbane Roar – Roy O’Donovan
In Roy O’Donovan, Brisbane have found the perfect striker for new coach Robbie Fowler to develop into the Roar’s most prolific player this season.
Certainly, O’Donovan's importance was demonstrated by his last-gasp equaliser in Brisbane’s credible 1-1 draw with Perth Glory last Sunday. That was the Irishman’s 40th goal in 81 Hyundai A-League matches.
Should he maintain, or even improve that strike rate under Fowler, there could be big things ahead for the Queenslanders.
Honourable mentions – Tom Aldred, Jay O’Shea
Central Coast Mariners – Milan Duric
Serbian midfielder Milan Duric arrived at Central Coast providing the experience and leadership required to turn Alen Stajcic’s developing Mariners team around.
Duric was captain of Serbian club FK Vojvodina last season, and having previously played in Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Poland, Croatia and Azerbaijan, he’s got all the qualities of a seasoned veteran of European football to make an impact on the Mariners squad this season.
And, as his excellent long-range strike in the Mariners’ 2-1 reverse to Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 1, Duric is capable of making an impact in the final third.
Honourable mentions – Ziggy Gordon, Kim Eun-Sun
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Melbourne City – Craig Noone
If Melbourne City’s FFA Cup 2019 run is anything to go by, Craig Noone is set for a debut Hyundai A-League season of the highest order.
The 31-year-old signed on following his exit from Bolton in the off-season and formed an instant on-field connection with Jamie Maclaren en route to booking the club’s FFA Cup Final ticket.
Noone created a round-high six scoring chances in his league debut against Melbourne Victory in the derby last weekend.
Honourable mentions – Adrian Luna, Javier Cabrera, Josh Brillante
Melbourne Victory – Andrew Nabbout
He sharpened his goal-scoring skillset in the J-League, and now the returning Andrew Nabbout has all the ingredients hit Hyundai A-League stardom for Melbourne Victory.
Nabbout – who led the line in two matches for the Caltex Socceroos at the 2018 FIFA World Cup – notched 10 goals and six assists for Newcastle Jets in 2017/18 before departing for Urawa Red Diamonds. With Ola Toivonen and Robbie Kruse joining him in the frontline, who’s to say he can’t better that tally?
Honourable mentions – Adama Traore, Robbie Kruse, Jakob Poulsen
Newcastle Jets – Abdiel Arroyo
Newcastle boss Ernie Merrick also bolstered their attacking arsenal with a striker who shone at the 2018 FIFA World Cup stage: Panamanian international Abdiel Arroyo.
Arroyo joined Newcastle on loan from Arabe Unido and, on the basis of his FFA Cup performances and high praise from some of his teammates, the forward could very well fill his boots this season.
Honourable mentions – Matt Millar, Wes Hoolahan
Perth Glory – Bruno Fornaroli
After ending his Melbourne City tenure on a sour note, Bruno Fornaroli will be out to prove he’s still one of the Hyundai A-League’s best with Perth Glory.
With Diego Castro and Chris Ikonomidis alongside him, the Uruguayan is surely destined for big things.
Honourable mentions: Gregory Wüthrich, James Meredith
Sydney FC – Kosta Barbarouses
Kosta Barbarouses shone in a more central striking role for Melbourne Victory last season with 15 goals and if he can replicate that form Sydney FC are a good chance of etching their name on Hyundai A-League silverware again this campaign.
With Adam Le Fondre for company up top, and Alexander Baumjohann and Milos Ninkovic pulling the strings in behind, the Kiwi is bound to be among the goals again.
Honourable mentions – Alexander Baumjohann, Luke Brattan
Wellington Phoenix – Matti Steinmann
Wellington’s recruitment drive under new boss Ufuk Talay uncovered plenty of local and exciting young talent, but perhaps the pick of his business is German midfielder Matti Steinmann.
Phoenix have mitigated the loss of Spanish central midfielder Mandi with the signing of Steinmann from Bundesliga 2 side Hamburger. The defensive midfielder can also play in the heart of defence, and is a very exciting pick up for the New Zealanders.
Honourable mentions – Stefan Marinovic, Ulises Davila
Western Sydney Wanderers – Nicolai Müller
In desperate need of reinforcements after the potentially season-ending injury to midfield creator Radoslaw Majewski, Markus Babbel has made yet another dip into the German market to gain the services of Nicolai Müller for the 2019/20 season.
Müller joins the Wanderers from Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt after spending last season on loan at Hannover 96, where he played alongside a familiar face in Wanderers midfielder Pirmin Schwegler.
With the off-season departures of Alexander Baumjohann and Roly Bonevacia the Wanderers were left devoid of midfield creativity, and with the pre-season injury to Majewski Babbel’s problems in attacking midfield reached boiling point.
That was until this afternoon when Müller was unveiled as a Wanderers player on an injury-replacement contract.
Babbel will hope Müller can arrive in Australia and quickly impose his quality on the league, and if the 32-year-old can rise to the challenge he could become a vital cog in the Western Sydney machine this season.
Honourable mentions – Matt Jurman, Pirmin Schwegler, Daniel Lopar, Alexander Meier
Western United FC – Alessandro Diamanti
Western United’s inaugural captain is Alessandro Diamanti, and for good reason: the Italian is a bona fide star.
Joining the Hyundai A-League new boys from Italian Serie B side Livorno for whom he registered 10 goals and eight assists last season, the former Serie A and English Premier League midfielder has 91 goals and 69 assists in a professional career spanning more than 400 games.
Diamanti boasts an impressive CV which includes stints at English sides West Ham and Watford, and he arrives in Australia with 17 caps for the Italian national side.
Despite his age, the 36-year-old hit the ground running in United’s first game against the Phoenix on Sunday, showcasing an array of skills and a range of passing which made for an impressive and a promising sign of what is to come.
Honourable mentions – Filip Kurto, Besart Berisha, Panagiotis Kone, Dario Jertec