Signing news: Championship-winner Bozanic returns to Mariners

Returning hero Oliver Bozanic will aim to lift the Central Coast Mariners out of the A-League doldrums after signing a multi-year deal.

The seven-cap Socceroo spent a golden three years in Gosford during Graham Arnold’s glittering tenure and lifted the Mariners’ second A-League Premiership title in 2011/12.

Sydnersider Bozanic played 70 games for the Yellow and Navy, including the club’s only Grand Final triumph, a 2-0 win against Western Sydney Wanderers in 2013.

After spells in Switzerland, Japan and Scotland, and pair of comebacks down under with Melbourne Victory and City, the 31-year-old returns to the Central Coast seeking to inspire a Mariners side that closed the elongated 2019/20 season on a three-match unbeaten run.

Head coach Alen Stajcic admits he will lean heavily on Bozanic in his attempts to turn around the fortunes of the New South Wales outfit following an unwanted streak of three straight wooden spoons.

“All of us are very excited to have a player with the calibre of Ollie joining our squad ahead of the new season,” Stajcic said.

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“He is a player with plenty of time, both in the A-League and further abroad, and will bring a wealth of experience to the group both on and off the field.”

“He is a great fit here not only as a player but also as someone that can be a leader in our squad and that’s something that will be very important this season.”

Oliver Bozanic Andres Iniesta
Oliver Bozanic dribbles past Spain legend Andres Iniesta at the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Curitiba, Brazil.

Bozanic becomes the 11th player on the Central Coast roster for the 2020/21 campaign, and media reports suggest the Mariners could be tracking an ex-Premier League star as they search to strengthen their squad.

BBC Radio Newcastle reported that the A-League outfit are chasing the signing of former Sunderland attacker Duncan Watmore, as published on FTBL.com.au.

The 26-year-old is now out of contract after seven seasons on Wearside, during which time he collected 13 caps for an England under-21 team managed by current senior head coach Gareth Southgate. 

Watmore told the Daily Mail: “I want to create some really good new memories on the pitch. Hopefully there is a club out there for me. Whether it be in [England] or abroad, I am open to all ideas.”

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