Melbourne Victory has moved swiftly to bolster its squad in the wake of recent injuries and departures, signing exciting youngster Robbie Kruse from Brisbane Roar, and adding promising midfielder Mate Dugandzic to its stocks.
Both players have signed two-year deals, with former Young Socceroo Kruse, who started in Brisbane's first five matches this season, set to train with his new teammates for the first time tomorrow ahead of Melbourne Victory's Round 6 match against Wellington Phoenix this Sunday.
Brisbane-born Kruse, 20, netted four goals in 26 appearances with the Roar and Melbourne Victory Football Operations Manager Gary Cole believes the Australian Institute of Sport graduate will bring an element of versatility to the club.
"We're really keen to develop and foster a healthy mix of youth and experience for the immediate future, while also planning long-term, and Robbie is a fantastic addition to Melbourne Victory," Cole said.
"He burst onto the scene in 2007 with Brisbane, scored a stunning goal against us in one of his first matches and has been on our radar ever since.
"He's proven over the past three years that he has a lot to offer in a variety of roles and we believe he'll fit well into our attacking setup."
Melbourne Victory Chairman Geoff Lord echoed Cole's sentiments, declaring the club is building for now and beyond.
"As we lose a champion of the club, we see this as a time to develop our squad to be extremely competitive now and in the future," Lord said.
"Our on-field performance is of the upmost importance in terms of what we deliver for our members and fans, and this is always at the forefront in our decisions."
"We officially welcome Robbie and Mate as Melbourne Victory players and look forward to them creating their own history at the club."
Dugandzic, 19, originally signed for Melbourne Victory's National Youth League side but has been promoted after impressive performances in training alongside the club's senior team over the past month.
The Melbourne-born youngster was signed by Croatian powerhouse Dinamo Zagreb last year and enjoyed a successful loan at affiliate club NK Lokomotiva Zagreb before returning home in January and spending the Victorian Premier League season with Melbourne Knights.
"Mate is an exciting, promising young talent who is technically gifted, had an excellent season in the Victorian Premier League and is one of the quickest players we've ever had at the club," Cole said.
"He played against us in three matches for the Victorian state side earlier this year and we have been monitoring his progress.
"He's a good addition to our squad and the next two years will provide him with a good opportunity to develop as a footballer."
With 22 players signed, Cole confirmed the club intends to make at least one further addition, with potential room for an injury replacement player for Billy Celeski, who was last week ruled out for the remainder of the season with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.
"We're looking locally and abroad and are keen to make further signings moving forward," Cole said.
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