January 2020 Transfer Window Rumour-Mill
Updated: Jan 23
Hold onto your seats, ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year again!
The January transfer window has rolled around again and you can pretty much expect all the usual transfer antics; the cellar-dweller sides will be desperate to sign pretty much any ex-A-League stalwart currently without a club in a bid to save their season, whilst the teams in stronger positions will make minor tweaks to improve an already successful formula. With City in second place, we're not really expecting too many ins, but that won't stop the rumours from circulating regardless.
In comparison to the generally fanciful and inaccurate European rumour-mill, those about the A-League clubs tend to be somewhat more accurate. We'll aim to keep this post updated as new information comes to light and will note how likely we think each rumour is to be true.
Dec 23 2019 - Florin Berenguer to leave City in January.
Initially broken by one of the writers for the @AleagueFR twitter account, rumours have been abound that City are set to part ways with one of our marquee players in Florin Berenguer.
This rumour was based off the player being out of Erick Mombaerts' plans for the season, which at the time wasn't particularly difficult to believe having missed 7 out of the first 8 rounds through injury, then only having a 36min cameo off the bench against Newcastle.
Further talk came shortly thereafter that he was looking to sell the house he'd bought in Melbourne after arriving. This rumour was never published in mainstream media, only through social media channels.
Given that Florin started in the most recent match against Western Full Service and Auto Crew, and put in a reasonably solid performance, you'd argue that this rumour is looking less likely. Nothing further has been said about Florin leaving since Xmas, so this may be a rumour that doesn't come to fruition.
Rumour rating: 3/10. Without a solid replacement marquee, and with Florin starting to get game time as a starter, we can't see the club doing another "Robbie Koren".
Jan 7 2020 - Javier Cabrera to leave City and return to South America.
When City announced that Cabrera wasn't in the squad to face Western United due to a niggle and a short turnaround, not much was thought of it.
Two days later, and articles appear online from Argentina with quotes from the coach of Union de Santa Fe stating "he is preparing to return" and mentioning that the transfer would likely be completed by the end of the week.
Of the two Uruguayans, Cabrera has certainly shown a bit more utility on the wing, contributing one goal (a banger, at that) and four assists. Luna, while scoring more goals, plays in a position we currently have a dearth of options (Berenguer, Genreau, Metcalfe) so would likely not be missed as much.
Melbourne City are yet to comment on the potential transfer.
UPDATE (8/1): An article was released overnight with more quotes from Union coach Leo Madelon about the impending transfer:
"I spoke with him yesterday, he is outside (in Australia). He always played as an extreme in Argentinos, close to the line, it is fast and light, we look for something to level since our strikers are more inside, so it will be good for us. He will have to adapt to us and we will know him too.
Cabrera will be arriving Sunday or Monday maybe, but you must resolve some issues in Australia, the issue of the department and that is why it will take a few days".
Rumour rating: 9/10. Rumours coming from South America generally tend to be true. Expect to hear something official in the coming days about it. Now we're just waiting for the rumours of his replacement...
UPDATE (12/1): RUMOUR CONFIRMED.
Melbourne City confirms the mutual termination of Javier Cabrera's contract. He leaves with 9 caps, 4 assists and one banger of a goal. Good luck for the future Crabby.
Jan 8 2020 - Marco Rojas to Melbourne City
To be honest, it was only going to be a matter of time before this rumour appeared. Rojas decided to leave his current club, SønderjyskE Fodbold in Denmark, at the end of his contract. Nix coach Ufuk Talay stated they wouldn't be signing him shortly after this, but that he's weighing up offers from a few A-League clubs.
Next thing you know, Twitter over the weekend noted a number of sightings of Rojas being in Melbourne at the Victory game. Rojas has history of coming to Melbourne in the off-season, so this wouldn't be out of the ordinary, but with rumours of us freeing up a VISA spot, it would make sense to fill it up with proven quality.
Besides whispers on forums about this being a logical signing, the only word online about his movements comes from a twitter account called @bballlover, who describes themself as a freelance journalist from Melbourne. There is nothing in their Twitter history to suggest any credibility as a journalist, as almost all of their tweets are about the LA Lakers. Furthermore, they've suggested we'll be signing "Marcos Rajos", which makes this even less likely.
Rojas is a proven player at A-League level. 30 goals and 20 assists in 96 A-League games, plus a Johnny Warren Medal, would make him a very strong addition to the team. In the three seasons since leaving, he has 73 caps for 15 goals and 4 assists in the Dutch and Danish first divisions. A front three of Noone, Maclaren and Rojas would be a fear-inducing one.
UPDATE 8/1 1300: That escalated quickly.
The Age are now running a story about Cabrera wanting out and Marco Rojas being a ready made replacement. From a nobody on Twitter struggling to spell to Michael Lynch - it's been a hell of a day for the City rumour mill.
UPDATE 14/1: David Davutovic reports that Marco Rojas has turned down the contract offer from Melbourne City with a view to returning to the scum on a grossly overpaying contract. We never wanted him anyway.
Rumour rating: 0/10. The possibility seems completely out the window now that Victory's interest has been confirmed in the mainstream media, with some outlets indicating he's likely to sign within the next week.
UPDATE (21/1): RUMOUR FALSE.
With Scum FC annoucing the signing of Rojas, this rumour goes to the bin. Clearly there must have been something there at the start of the window, but we're much happier with Markel Susaeta signing.
Jan 8 2020 - Daniel Arzani to return to Melbourne City
Put this one down in the "not likely to happen, but only here for completeness" category.
The Herald Sun ran an article stating that we'd contacted Arzani to offer him a loan deal with us for the rest of the season, as he looks to get match time following his ACL reconstruction.
The article is short and sweet, stating that Arzani turned the offer down to focus on breaking into the first team at Celtic. To quote Brendan Rodgers, Celtic have "millions of wingers", so breaking onto the bench, let alone the first XI, is going to be a difficult task for Daniel heading into the second half of the season.
Personally, we think Arzani left too soon on the back of a good half-season and some exciting bench appearances at the 2018 World Cup. After spending six months trying to break into Celtic's senior squad, then 12 months out following his injury, he has lost a significant period of time to develop as a player. He would have benefited from another season as a key player before making the journey overseas, similar to Mooysie.
Rumour rating: 0/10. We'd be shocked if Arzani returns in January, but the club may make another move in the winter after his Celtic loan expires.
Jan 18/1 - Scotland international defender Jack Hendry to sign with City
To match the “out of the blue” nature of the signing of Markel Susaeta (who we didn’t even get to write up in the rumour mill), word has come from the UK that Celtic centre back Jack Hendry will be signing with City this week on a “short term loan deal”.
Reportedly City agreed a deal with Celtic yesterday and he’s due to fly out to Australia over the weekend, making him in line for a potential debut against Perth Glory on January 25th.
Aside from a handful of games for Shrewsbury Town and Milton Keynes Dons, Hendry has spent the majority of his career in the Scottish Premier League. His most capped year came for Dundee United in 2017/18 with 30 games and two goals, before being signed by SPL champions Celtic. In the last two seasons with Celtic he has played 27 games, including six appearances in the UEFA Champions League and two in the Europa League.
He has been capped three times for Scotland, playing the full match against Hungary, Mexico and Portugal.
As we already have five VISA players in our team, this report suggests we’ll be releasing one of our current VISAs. The most likely of these would be Richard Windbichler, who has struggled with injury and breaking into the XI since arriving in Australia. It may also be that
Hendry comes on an injury replacement contract, with recent news suggesting Windbichler is out for “an indefinite period”.
Rumour rating: 9/10. The Daily Mail is a reputable source, so we think this is probably true. Expect to hear news early next week.
Hendry's signing for City seems just about a certainty, with the Scottish defender spotted at Glasgow Airport. Michael Lynch of The Age has reaffirmed that Hendry will likely be acquired as an injury replacement for sidelined Austrian Richard Windbichler. We'd be hoping to hear something more official from the club itself in the coming days.
UPDATE (22/1): RUMOUR CONFIRMED.
City announced the arrival of Jack Hendry on Wednesday, on an injury replacement contract for Richard Windbichler. It seems like we'll try to keep him somehow until the end of the season, which suggests we'll be giving Windbichler an extended period of time in the Germano centre to get himself right. Welcome Jack!