Blockbuster A-League marquees no longer a focus, says FFA
A-League clubs are moving their focus away from signing superstar players and instead looking to bring through young Australian players, according to FFA head of leagues Greg O'Rourke.
The shift comes ahead of the new season, which begins on October 12, with a notable lack of big-name signings like Melbourne Victory's capture of Keisuke Honda prior to last campaign.
Le Fondre 'shocked' by A-League standard
Sydney FC star Adam Le Fondre was shocked by the standard of the A-League when he took to the field at the start of last season.
The 32-year-old made the jump from England's Championship to Australia and scored 16 goals in his debut Sky Blues campaign, which resulted in the team winning the A-League's grand final against Perth.
Le Fondre was expecting the Australian competition to be tough but was surprised by the standard of play of all teams, and was particular impressed with the quality of his new teammates.
"The standard of Sydney didn’t really really surprise me," Le Fondre told FTBL.
"I was maybe expecting a lower standard but the boys, when I came into training the first couple of weeks, I was surprised how good they were.
"The players are every good, technically, and the standard isn’t very different to what I’m used to back home.
"Obviously Sydney being one of the premier teams in the A-League, there might be a little bit of a gulf between the first and bottom, which is the same in any league.
"But when I was coming to Sydney, and your perception from the other side of the world of the A-League wasn’t as high as the standard is.
"When I came here the standard shocked me and I was really pleased with that."
Japan legend Honda offers to play for Man Utd
Japanese star Keisuke Honda has alerted Manchester United to his availability by offering to play for the Red Devils in a social media post.
Honda has been without a club since July, after being released by Australian A-League club Melbourne Victory.
Holland continues push for Socceroos selection
Austria-based midfielder James Holland has put Australia coach Graham Arnold on notice after scoring in LASK Linz's 3-0 win over St. Polten.
It was the 30-year-old's first goal of the Austrian Bundesliga season, netting in the 50th minute to help LASK climb to second on the table.
Holland, who usually plays as a defensive midfielder, has 28 caps for the Socceroos but hasn't played in the green and gold since a 2014 friendly against the UAE.
Fellow Australian midfielder James Jeggo is also based in Austria and has become a regular squad member under Arnold.
Western United confirm Berisha signing
Besart Berisha, the A-League's all-time top scorer, has joined new side Western United for the coming season.
The 34-year-old striker returns to Australia after a stint with J-League outfit Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
Prior to his move to Japan, Berisha had lined up for Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory scoring 116 goals and wining the Championship four times.
Baccus torn between Socceroos and South Africa
Former Melbourne City midfielder Kearyn Baccus admits he's conflicted about the idea of switching allegiances to South Africa.
Currently playing in the country of his birth for Kaizer Chiefs, strong performances from the 28-year-old have put him on South Africa's radar with Baccus himself torn between his Socceroos ambitions.
"I don’t mind representing South Africa but my first and main goal, for now, is to play well for Chiefs and we will see what happens after that," Baccus told reporters.
"My heart is set with Australia, to be honest, but if South Africa comes knocking I will have to consider it.
"I will sit down with my agent‚ see if it will be good for me to do that and take it from there."
Baccus has previously been called up for Australia at U17 and U20 level.
Perth Glory sign fringe Socceroos defender
Tony Popovic has bolstered his defence with the signing of left-back James Meredith.
The former Millwall defender was a free agent and has decided to link up with the reigning A-League premiers on a one-year deal.
"The boss sold it to me," Meredith said.
"I really liked the way he talked about his plans for the future of the club and when I looked at the squad list, I know it's a strong group of players."
Jedinak keen to play on in England
Former Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak is eager to continue his playing career and admits England remains his first choice of destination.
After parting ways with Aston Villa over the summer, Jedinak remains a free agent and has attracted A-League interest, but revealed remaining in Europe would be his preference.
"I’m still trying to play and still keeping fit. I still hope to get an opportunity somewhere and we will see what happens after that,” Jedinak told The Athletic.
"I still go and use Villa’s training facilities, away from the first team, when they are not there. I do my own thing and crack on. It’s not always the easiest thing but it’s necessary and you need to do it.
"It might be somewhere abroad or within England, I don’t know. It would be nice to be in England. I realise that may not be a possibility, so I can’t not be open to trying somewhere else.
"I’d like to manage. If that was the path I was going down, it would be great to manage. There’s a long road before that but it would be something to try to explore some day.”
Rogic scores in Celtic rout
Socceroo Tom Rogic scored on his first start of the season for Celtic in a 5-0 Scottish League Cup win over Partick Thistle.
The Aussie curled home his side's second goal from the top of the box in the 46th minute.
Australia 🥅 (@GoalAustralia) September 25, 2019
Rogic then saw out the full game as he rebuilds fitness following a succession of injuries have seen him sidelined for much of the year.
Fellow Socceroo Daniel Arzani wasn't included in the Hoops squad, despite speculation he was closing in on a first-team return.
Zelic apologises for Adelaide insult
SBS presenter Lucy Zelic has taken to Twitter to apologise for disparaging comments she made about the city of Adelaide.
Zelic made the controversial remarks in an interview with Central Coast Mariners recruit Ziggy Gordon on The World Game LIVE podcast on Monday.
Gordon, who hails from Scotland, was listing the Australian cities he has visited since his arrival Down Under.
When he mentioned Adelaide, Zelic interjected with a less than flattering account of her own experiences in the City of Churches.
“You won’t see much in Adelaide,” Zelic said.
“Adelaide’s a s***hole.”
The backlash was swift and Zelic on Tuesday tweeted an apology to her 72,800 followers.
Yesterday I made an off-handed comment about Adelaide on The World Game LIVE. I recognise these comments weren’t okay and I’m truly sorry for what I said.— Lucy Zelić (@LucyZelic) September 24, 2019
Jets lose Hoolahan until 2020
Newcastle Jets will be without star Irish import Wes Hoolahan until next year after the Irish playmaker underwent surgery on his ankle.
The 37-year-old suffered the injury during the Jets' 1-0 FFA Cup quarter-final loss to Adelaide United on September 17.
"Estimated return to play timeframes will be established by the club's medical staff in consultation with the surgeon," the Jets said in a statement.
Hoolahan has played extensively in the Premier League with Norwich while also scoring for the Republic of Ireland at Euro 2016.
Hull City's Callum Elder selected in provisional Socceroos squad
Australian defender Callum Elder is line to make his Socceroos debut in next month's World Cup qualifiers, if he can make a quick recovery from injury.
Elder's Hull City manager Grant McCann revealed the 24-year-old and team-mate Jackson Irvine had received notification from Socceroos boss Graham Arnold about their selection.
Former Victory foreigner's damning A-League assessment
The A-League is failing to make the most of its foreigners with clubs focused more on silverware than off-field progress, according to former Melbourne Victory defender Georg Niedermeier.
Niedermeier featured 19 times in the A-League and has left the competition adamant it is isn't utilising the experience and knowledge of its foreign players.
The Aussie players with the best potential in FIFA 20
With the upcoming release of FIFA 20, the game not only provides all important player ratings, but also weighs in on a player's potential.
Along with an overall current assessment of their skills, players in FIFA are also given a future rating they could achieve based on form and pure talent.
Ahead of FIFA 20's global release on September 27, Goal casts an eye on the Australian players that have been backed to shine in years to come.
A-League membership: Every club's prices compared
Though the next A-League season may still be two months away, Goal has rounded up the membership prices for all eleven clubs.
With pre-season well underway for players, clubs have been quick to settle on how much it will cost fans to attend their games in the 2019-20 season.
Ahead of a big campaign for A-League clubs as they look to revitalise the competition, getting their membership pricing right will be crucial.