Transfer Profiles: Champions do best business out of A-League top four

The A-League transfer window shut with a resounding bang on 16 October, representing the point of no return in a league where the great flourish and the lowly flounder. Last season’s top four have established themselves as the ones to beat, and each of those clubs has made a new signing that has captured the imagination of an entire country.

Today, we find out more about the A-League’s ‘fab four’ of newcomers. Starting with a major signing for last season’s 4th placed team, a scintillating Scot is the first player up…

Ross McCormack – Melbourne City (loan)
For many years, the club formerly known as Melbourne Heart have been overshadowed by its local rivals, but that could be about to change. Just two days before the transfer window shut, it was City’s turn to brag as they turned on the style and claimed a third win in four away derbies. The 31-year old Aston Villa striker has credentials to burn, and opened his goal scoring account for City the following week in a 1-0 win over Wellington Phoenix.

After transferring from Motherwell to Cardiff nearly a decade ago, McCormack became one of the most consistent strikers in English football. In successive spells with Cardiff, Leeds United and Fulham, he never once slipped below a rate of 1 goal in every 3 games. After being linked to a number of Premier League clubs, his big chance never came, but the £12m sum that moved him to Aston Villa in August 2016 was a reflection of the faith in his talent that still exists.

It is still early days, but the English game in which McCormack is so experienced is without equal when it comes to toughness and resilience. McCormack is no stranger to playing 50+ games a season, and his stamina could be the scourge of the A-League in the coming months. This is reflected in the latest Oddschecker soccer markets, which price McCormack at 10/1 to be the top goal scorer of the 2017/18 A-League.

Massimo Maccarone – Brisbane Roar
After finishing third last season, most Brisbane Roar fans would have expected the club to press on and invest in the attacking department. With Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory in their sights, the free signing of 38-year old Massimo Maccarone raised a few eyebrows in Brisbane.

Though well past his playing prime, Maccarone still knows where the goal is. In two spells with Italian club Empoli he was a true talisman in testing times. As a youngster, his contributions helped Empoli reach the Promised Land of Serie A in 2002, before transferring to Middlesbrough. On his return to Empoli in 2014, he was a key figure in keeping the club in the Italian top flight for two years.

His time at Middlesbrough in the mid 2000s saw him emerge as a cult hero on Teeside, and he was a vital cog in a side that reached the 2006 UEFA Cup final. With Jamie Maclaren now gone from the Roar, a man with unrivalled experience is needed. Encouragingly, Maccarone has already netted his first A-League goal, doing so in a 2-1 home defeat for the Roar to Adelaide United.

Matias Sanchez – Melbourne Victory
As a versatile midfielder and a former Argentina U20 starlet, Sanchez has already captured the imaginations of a fanbase with high expectations after a championship near-miss in 2016/17. Since making his senior debut in 2006 with Argentine club Racing Club de Avellaneda, he has become a seasoned journeyman across the top flight of his native Argentina.

Standing 1.73m tall, Sanchez offers a good turn of pace, much of which can be attributed to his low centre of gravity. In turn, he also offers the mobility necessary to act as a ‘midfield’ engine and make the most of his technical ability on the ball. If nothing else, the mere fact that Sanchez once shared a youth dressing room with Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria gives him a degree of menace, regardless of whether or not he is in form.

Adrian Mierzejewski – Sydney FC
Breaking in to a title-winning squad is no mean feat, especially given the margin by which Sydney became A-League premiers in 2016/17. Yet, with 40 caps for Poland, Sydney’s brand new hitman Adrian Mierzejewski already looks the part next to Milos Ninkovic in a partnership that blends strength and skill. Arguably his greatest weapon is the ability to finish calmly in one-on-one situations.

Unlike most other A-League players, Mierzejewski has playing experience in European club competitions, having made multiple appearances in the UEFA Europa League with Trabzonspor earlier this decade. Having already played against some of Europe’s finest players, Mierzejewski also comes into the A-League after three years of playing in Saudi Arabia. Ultimately, this could be crucial for Sydney, with the club preparing to embark on a continental odyssey of its own in 2018. It is, arguably, this last point which distinguishes him from the marquee signings of the other three clubs.

Although the 2017/18 season is in its infancy, Sydney FC are already climbing the table with the haste of true champions, and Mierzejewski has every chance of being the next cult icon in Australian football.

Author bio
Tamhas Woods is a sports and betting writer with many years of experience in producing articles based around soccer analysis.