By Iain Strachan
Former Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi expects his old team to think big in the hunt for marquee players, and says he doesn't have a problem with Manchester City's plans to change the team's colours and name.
Heart could be a major force in the Australian transfer market ahead of the 2014-15 A-League campaign, with their Premier League owners (and Abu Dhabi paymasters) tipped in some quarters to splash the cash on genuine stars in a bid to boost attendances and raise the club's commercial profile.
Frank Lampard, whose Chelsea future remains uncertain, has been linked with Heart by sections of the British and Australian media.
And when asked by Goal Australia if he expects his former side to pursue a player of the World Cup-bound England international's calibre, Aloisi was unequivocal.
"I think they will," he said.
"You hear stories about it, you don't know for sure what they can do with it. I'm sure Man City will get a lot of good players coming across to play in Australia. At least the marquee and then whether they go on and have a guest player for a period time.
"But they definitely will make sure they put the resources into the right areas. And the right areas are bringing top quality players in and I'm sure they're going to do that."
Aloisi was similarly enthusiastic about reports linking Heart with a swoop for Socceroos veteran Mark Bresciano, who has one season remaining at Qatari club Al Gharafa.
"Definitely, definitely," he said when asked if the Australia international was a suitable candidate to become domestic marquee.
"A great player, had a great career. Still going strong, you can see he's going to be in the starting XI with the Socceroos at the World Cup. I think if we could get him back over it'd be great.
"He's a Melbourne boy. I'm not sure what he wants to do, I'm not sure if the club are looking to do that. But definitely that calibre of player you want to bring back."
Even if Heart succeed in recruiting such big hitters to drive their new project under John van 't Schip, it remains to be seen what colours they will be wearing and what name they will be playing under next season.
An application has been submitted to Football Federation Australia by new owners the City Group to transform the franchise into Melbourne City, with the original 'Sky Blues', Sydney FC, registering strong opposition to a proposed change of Heart's shirt colour from red and white to light blue.
Aloisi however, despite being both a former Sydney FC man and an inaugural Heart player, does not feel strongly about the potential identity crisis.
"I really haven't got an issue with it, I think that if they want to do it, it's up to them," he said.
"I can't see that it should be a problem because in Europe, say Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal have all got red jerseys. They could make it a little bit different. That's why you have away jerseys, if it's going to clash.
"That's up to FFA I suppose and Manchester City, what they want to do with Melbourne Heart. If they want to change their names and change their colours, they've got the rights to it, they probably can do it."