In the case of central midfielders, it’s been a case of ‘one in, one out’ for City, having lost Luke Brattan just a day after announcing the acquisition of esteemed 5-capped Socceroo Josh Brillante from Sydney FC.
Given the loss of Bratts from our starting lineup, what can we expect from our new big-name signing?
Born in Bundaberg, Queensland, Brillante had the remarkable fortune of coming through the youth ranks at ol’ mate Clive Palmer’s ill-fated Gold Coast United franchise, before transferring to Newcastle in 2012.
Having shown considerable promise in his 46 appearances for the Jets, Brillante was picked up by Italian top-flight club Fiorentina, for whom he made only two appearances. After bouncing around Serie A and Serie B for 2 seasons, Brillante returned to Australia with Sydney FC and… well, you know the rest.
The move to Italy may have been a little disappointing in hindsight, but Brillante has since become a top Australian talent for A-League organisers to boast about.
Primarily playing as a holding midfielder for Sydney, Brillante has played a key role in the club achieving success and keeping clean sheets in recent years… without all the sideways and Baccus-passing.
Expect Brillante to become the team’s engine, consistently tracking back on defence and screening the back four, whilst also playing a key role in driving the offensive transition. After all, his pre-World Cup form saw him cover incredible, Premier League-like distances in midfield which weren’t too far behind the numbers being posted by Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante.
A versatile talent, Brillante could even deputize at right-back if required, given his experience in that particular position for the Newcastle Jets and at national team level. He was even listed in the ‘defenders’ section in the revised 26-man squad 2018 World Cup squad, before missing out on a spot in the final 23.
City’s Director of Football, Michael Petrillo, described Brillante as “an intelligent player who can help us build an important link between defence and attack when we have the ball, while offering protection to our defenders when we’re without it.”
Petrillo furthered: “Josh is one of the best holding midfielders in Australia. He’s extremely mobile, works very hard, has a great attitude and character, so we’re thrilled that he’s decided to join us.”