When the new A-League campaign got underway earlier this month, there were a number of new faces appearing for clubs – and making an immediate impact. Commentary Box Sports takes a look at the major ins and outs and lists the top 10 A-League signings of the 2017/18 season.
Massimo Maccarone (Brisbane)
At the ripe age of 38, it remains to be seen how much value the Roar will get out of Maccarone, but on paper the former Italian international could be one of the best forwards in the A-League this season.
A product of the AC Milan system, Maccarone was once among the most promising U-21 players in Italy and went on to have a long career in the Serie A, playing for big-name Italian clubs such as Palermo, Sampdoria and Empoli.
— BetBull (@betbullcom) September 6, 2017
Fresh out of the Italian first division, and having scored almost 200 career goals, Maccarone shapes as an obvious answer to Brisbane’s need to replace golden boot Jamie Maclaren.
Roy O’Donovan (Jets)
Last season the Newcastle Jets failed to net a single goal in the final five games of their season, and an inability to put it in the back of the net was a leading reason why they collected the wooden spoon.
In O’Donovan they have a man who can go a long way to solving that problem, with the Irish forward scoring a third of his Central Coast side’s 31 goals last year, despite his team struggling to an eighth-place finish.
Vastly experienced in English competitions, where he lined up for Sunderland, Blackpool and Northampton Town among others, the 32-year-old averages almost a goal every two games at A-League level.
O’Donovan wasted no time in making his mark, bagging a hat-trick on his Jets debut in Round 1 at the expense of his former club and adding another against Perth on the weekend.
— James Gardiner (@JamesGardiner42) June 26, 2017
Xavi Torres (Perth Glory)
A product of the Barcelona reserve team, where he was coached by current Manchester City mentor Pep Guardiola, Torres appeared twice for the European giants in 2009.
Since then he has amassed an impressive career with clubs including Levante, Real Betis and most recently Sporting Gijón.
A holding midfielder, Torres should help stiffen up a Perth defence which finished last year with the equal-worst defensive record in the entire A-League, giving up almost two goals every game on average.
The 30-year-old brings immediate experience in La Liga and becomes the third Spaniard on the books at Perth.
Goran Paracki (Phoenix)
With Vince Lia, Alex Rodriguez and Roly Bonevacia gone, the Phoenix needed someone to shore up their midfield, and it looks like they got him in the shape of Goran Paracki.
A natural holding midfielder, the 30-year-old has a high workrate which should work well within the style of the A-League.
He boasts over 200 games in the top flight in his native Croatia and is a former age-group national representative.
Adrian Mierzejewski (Sydney FC)
A creative midfielder who can add another dimension to the defending champions’ attack, alongside last season’s Johnny Warren Medal winner, Milos Ninkovic.
Mierzejewski has an impressive CV, having appeared 40 times for Poland, scoring three goals, while he has played in both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, netting four times in the latter competition.
— UBET (@UBET) October 5, 2017
An added bonus with the 30-year-old is the fact that he should be used to the conditions and style in the A-League, having spent the last few seasons playing in Asia and appearing in the last two AFC Champions League campaigns.
Capable of playing anywhere across the midfield, Mierzejewski is tough to defend one-on-one and shapes as being one the competition’s best attacking weapons.
Ross McCormack (Melbourne City)
The fiery Scotsman has been called in on loan as an injury replacement for Bruno Fornaroli and has one of the most impressive recent CVs of any player in the A-League.
He comes from time at Nottingham Forest on loan, scoring one goal in seven appearances, and prior to that McCormack was signed to Aston Villa for $23 million after forging a reputation as one of the English Championship’s best strikers.
Capped 13 times by Scotland, there is no doubting the 31-year-old’s talent, and he could end up being an inspired transfer for City.
Matias Sanchez (Melbourne Victory)
Such was Sanchez’s talent as a youngster, he appeared in the same Argentina under-20 team as current stars Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Sergio Romero.
The 30-year-old arrives straight out of Argentina’s top flight, were he most recently played 34 times for Atletico Temperley, and is technically gifted with plenty of tricks in the bag.
Able to play as a holding midfielder, further forward or out on the right if required, he bolsters Melbourne’s ranks in the engine room.
Marcelo Carrusca (Melbourne City)
Carrusca signed with Melbourne after a stellar five-year run with Adelaide United which saw him win an A-League title, an FFA Cup crown and a place in three PFA Team of the Years.
A creative attacking presence behind the frontline, he will provide a good outlet for a City team who have recruited well this off-season.
Carrusca, who scored 25 goals in 114 appearances for Adelaide, managed only 19 appearances last season due to injury, but looks certain to add plenty to coach Warren Joyce’s side.
Oriol Riera (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Touching down directly from La Liga after signing from Osasuna, Riera came through the Barcelona system in the early 2000s.
The 31-year-old striker was solid through the pre-season and FFA Cup, and made a goal-scoring debut for Western Sydney in the A-League too, giving plenty of reasons to believe he is going to make his mark for the Wanderers.
A noted worker up front, he gets about the pitch well and offers a composed presence in the attacking third, scoring a goal in both of WSW’s matches so far.
— WS Wanderers FC (@wswanderersfc) October 8, 2017
Wout Brama (Central Coast Mariners)
A quality addition to a Central Coast engine room which has struggled in recent times, Brama boasts over 300 games in the Dutch Eredivisie.
A holding midfielder who is classy on the ball and able to construct attack out of the back of the field, the 31-year-old has been capped three times by the Netherlands and has quality experience urgently needed in the Hunter.
The Mariners finished in the bottom three for both attack and defence in the A-League last year, leaving Brama with plenty of work to do in a pivotal position on the field.
[YouTube – Western Sydney Wanderers FC