European clubs are increasingly looking outside the square for talent and the A-League is becoming a competition worth scouting, so which defenders are ready to make the switch?
By Ben Somerford
There's no shortage of defensive talent in the A-League, with the likes of Socceroos Sasa Ognenovski, Luke DeVere, David Carney and Michael Zullo all moving abroad in recent years.
It just shows that European and Asian clubs are increasingly looking at Australia's top flight for talent.
So with the transfer window still open, Goal.com introduces five A-League defenders who can succeed in Europe.
Joshua Rose (Central Coast Mariners)
Could be a perfect fit for: FC Nurnberg
Rose may be closer to 30 than 20, but he's in career-best form which has prompted talk of a Socceroos call-up. That arguably has something to do with Australia's lack of quality left-sided defenders, but that shouldn't take credit away from Rose who has a great ability to get down the flank to provide an assist or score a goal, whilst also being reliable enough to help out his defence when required. Rose, who spent three seasons in Romania with Universitatea Craiova, was named in the A-League All-Star team last term and appears a player reborn.
Ben Kantarovski (Newcastle Jets)
Position: Centre-back/defensive midfielder
Could be a perfect fit for: FC Twente
Kantarovski is one of the hottest properties in Australian football right now. This is a teenager blessed with sublime skills and football smarts who loves to play the ball out from the back. Incredibly, he signed his first full-time contract with the Jets as a 15-year-old and made his A-League debut aged 16. Kantarovski, who turned down a chance to join Bayern a few years ago, is a kid with a good head on his shoulders too, captaining numerous Australia youth teams and bouncing back from a long-term injury this year.
Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar)
Could be a perfect fit for: AZ Alkmaar
Melbourne-born Franjic achieved it all last season at Brisbane, developing into a top-notch defender as the team went on to win the A-League double. Franjic, who got up and down the right flank much like Inter's Maicon, was named in the 2010-11 A-League All-Star team and deservedly so. Taking his game to a new level in Europe will be a challenge for him, but recent progress suggests it's a task he can take on. The 180-centimetre tall right-back is a player on the move in more ways than one.
Scott Jamieson (Sydney FC)
Could be a perfect fit for: Werder Bremen
Jamieson has been through a lot for a 22-year-old, but it's clear the former Bolton Wanderers left-back still has plenty to offer. The 2008-09 A-League Young Player of the Year award winner is a fiery character, but it's that passion which seems to drive him on. Sydney-born Jamieson, who has two Australia caps, loves to get forward and whip in a cross from the left flank. He's also comfortable over a deadball and appears hungry to head back to Europe in the near future.
Daniel Mullen (Adelaide United)
Could be a perfect fit for: Birmingham City
Mullen is a talent who has graduated through various Australian youth sides and is now looking to take the next step. The son of former Socceroo Joe Mullen, Daniel is a versatile defender, who at 187-centimetres tall, offers plenty to any backline. He's commanding in the air but also comfortable on the ball, while he has been known to drift forward. However, his game is built around defence and while he keeps it simple, he's very effective and reliable for a 21-year-old.
Do you have another Australian defender to propose to European clubs? As ever, we’re open to your suggestions and musings in the comments section below.