There is no limit to the amount the club can spend in the hunt for a player to fill their domestic marquee spot after re-signing David Williams under the salary cap
By Iain Strachan
Re-signing David Williams indicates it will be evolution not revolution at Melbourne Heart, but they are set to open their new Manchester City cheque book after freeing up the squad's Australian marquee berth.
Williams has been one of Heart's best performers in a disappointing season and deserved to be retained by the new owners. But the fact that they have been able to secure the A-League's joint top scorer under the salary cap is an early indication of the financial muscle the one-time minnows are now set to unleash on the competition.
Theoretically, Heart, bankrolled by City's billions of petro dollars, can afford to go after any Australian player in the world.
Western Sydney's Aaron Mooy has been linked to the club, and his Wanderers team-mate Matthew Spiranovic, expected to become a regular for the Socceroos, would be a smart investment at centre-back.
But why stop there? Denied a chance to test himself in the English Premier League with Crystal Palace by Melbourne Victory, Mark Milligan has been tempted to accept a big money move to the Middle East in recent seasons. An equally lucrative switch to the red and white half of Melbourne would be far more convenient, and poaching their neighbours' captain would be a monumental PR boost for Heart.
And if the powers that be in Manchester, who are also funding Major League Soccer franchise New York City FC for a 2015 debut, want to kill two birds with one stone, why not deprive that team's rivals New York Red Bulls of Tim Cahill, and install him as a massive crowd booster in Melbourne.
One thing is for certain, no club with a talented, marketable Australian player should consider itself safe.