Updated: Sep 11, 2019
With Birighitti and Delianov gone, Melbourne City are now in a position where the club’s goalkeeping stocks are down to the bare bones. 17-year-old Ahmad Taleb travelled with the senior squad for our recent FFA Cup clash against Campbelltown City, but despite the youngster’s potential (and international experience with the Australian U17 squad), fans would feel more assured if the club were able to sign another goalkeeper before the season starts.
With the club’s quota of foreign players taken up, the only remaining option would be to target an Aussie shotstopper with more senior experience than Taleb, who’ll no doubt come into the fold soon enough.
There’s been very few convincing reports to go off, but we’ve nonetheless decided to take a look at some of the available glovemen who City might look at picking up before the season begins, whether to come in as the first-choice keeper or as a backup to Bouzanis.
Look, it’s a very, very long shot. In fact, Mitch Langerak’s actually doing quite alright with mid-table Nagoya Grampus in the J-League. He’s still only 30, so has a fair bit of time on his side, but on the same note, his contract with the Japanese club expires in January, 2020. This feels like the type of move City could pull off, and Langerak has previously indicated that he’s open to a return Down Under, telling Goal Japan, “I’d love to go back and play in the A-League one day.”
Well… we’ve called them ‘The Pipedreams’ for a reason.
A slightly more realistic target would be 34-year-old Adam Federici, who’s been bouncing around the English first and second divisions for a while now, without ever really getting much of a look in at Bournemouth, Nottingham Forest or current club Stoke City. For all his 16 national team caps, Federici is probably third choice at Stoke, given their recent acquisition of Adam Davies from Barnsley.
There’s the small issue of wage demands to contend with, but Federici would be a quality signing to help solidify a position which isn’t exactly our strongest.
Delisted by Sydney FC at the end of the 2018/19 season, Alex Cisak boasts a considerable resumé, as far as A-League-standard keepers go. The 30-year-old has plenty of experience throughout several divisions of the English Football League, and has been on the books of Leiceister and Burnley, even making 2 appearances, including a clean sheet, for the latter.
We really wouldn’t be at all surprised in the hypothetical situation that the club announces his signature towards the end of August as we run out of better alternatives. It’d be typical A-League, really.
When we say City would be bringing this lad back from the wilderness, we mean the REAL wilderness. Since departing Melbourne City’s youth setup as a 22-year-old, Mark Aouad, now 24, has played for clubs in Montenegro, Macedonia, Slovenia and, most recently, Lebanon.
Standing at 188cm (6’2”), he fits the ‘young, but not too young’ Australian keeper profile which we're probably looking at, and might be tempted with an offer to return back home.
The Youth Options
22-year-old, Sydney-born Holmes finds himself without a club heading into the new season, having departed the Bournemouth youth setup following multiple loan spells to English clubs in the sixth-tier of the country’s footballing pyramid. His most recent loan spell at St. Mirren in the Scottish Premiership saw the former Sydney United youth product sit out the majority of games, so it might be time for the young Aussie to return home for the next step of his goalkeeping development.
A-League fans may be familiar with the name, given his short stint at the Central Coast Mariners in 2017/18, but they’re unlikely to be particularly impressed by it, given his part in a leaky defence which shipped 10 goals in his 4 starting appearances. Pretty standard for the Mariners, come to think of it…
Comparable to the aforementioned Holmes, both keepers are 6’2”, in their early 20s and were called up to the recent U-23 squad for the AFC Championship qualifiers by Socceroos coach Graham Arnold. The lad’s also got 25 appearances in the Premier League 2 for Spurs, if that counts for much by the way of comparison.