Socceroo Matt Leckie and Celtic captain Scott Brown could be marquee targets of the new Western Melbourne club.
Socceroo Matt Leckie and Celtic captain Scott Brown could be marquee targets of the new Western Melbourne club.

New club’s vow: Marquee will be ‘something special’

The A-League's next club Western Melbourne has vowed to sign a marquee player for next season, declaring that they want to make a sudden impact.

Western Melbourne was awarded the next A-League license for 2019-20, with Macarthur South-west Sydney joining in 2020, when the competition expands to 12.

 

Could the new Western Melbourne club attract the likes of international stars Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Arjen Robben, Cesc Fabregas or Mario Balotelli?
Could the new Western Melbourne club attract the likes of international stars Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Arjen Robben, Cesc Fabregas or Mario Balotelli?

 

Melbourne's third club has declared they will build their 15,000-20,000 boutique stadium in Tarneit by 2021, with Kardinia Park the interim base although they plan to play games around the state, including Ballarat, and possibly a temporary venue in Wyndham.

Having delivered the A-League's biggest marquee players in Alessandro Del Piero, Dwight Yorke, Kazu Miura (all Sydney FC) and Shinji Ono (Western Sydney), agent and Western Melbourne backer Lou Sticca vowed to bring in "something special".

Fernando Torres (Segan Tosu), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy), Wesley Sneijder (Al-Gharafa), Mario Balotelli (Nice), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich) and Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea) are among the world stars out of contract in 2019.

Celtic captain Scott Brown has been linked with Western Melbourne, while Socceroos winger Mathew Leckie, 27, is the highest-profile Socceroo from the west, although he's playing with Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin.

"We'll sign a foreign marquee. Someone that will bring something special to the A-League,'' Sticca said.

"The clock is ticking, it's not much time to prepare but I'm very confident that Western Melbourne will have a competitive team on the park that will excite the fans. We'll be ready to go.

"NPL players in Western Melbourne will be given a chance. I can see 5-6 (state league) players joining the squad. We'll give them every opportunity to trial and win a contract."

FFA chief executive David Gallop said the prospect of Western Melbourne becoming the first A-League club to own its own stadium was a decisive factor.

"This is going to set the A-League up for long-term sustainability in these locations but importantly, as well, the decisions have taken us to a point where we can ensure that the new clubs are in high-quality facilities from day one," Gallop said.

"With West Melbourne, there's an opportunity to do something quite unique and something that we've seen successful in football globally, which is to have a purpose-built football stadium."

Western Melbourne chiefs are confident of being a success.

"We have a big and rapidly growing population spread over a considerable mass of land over the Westgate Bridge, heading into the Surf Coast, Bendigo, Ballarat,'' Sticca said.

"There's established football and new families coming into the area which provides us a very fertile recruitment area for fans and potential players moving forward."

 

FFA CEO David Gallop announced the new A-League teams today. Picture: AAP
FFA CEO David Gallop announced the new A-League teams today. Picture: AAP

 

 

 

DREAMING BIG MARQUEES

 

*Western Melbourne's possible marquee targets

 

SCOTT BROWN

Age: 33

Club: Celtic

Contracted til: June 2019

The Celtic stalwart would make a sudden impact in the A-League with his leadership and aggression.

 

FERNANDO TORRES

Age: 34

Club: Segan Tosu

Contracted 'til: December 2019

He was on the verge of signing with Sydney FC before stopping halfway in Japan.

 

MARIO BALOTELLI

Age: 28

Club: Nice, France

Contracted til: May 2019

The human headline has scored goals in France and would be a box office attraction.

 

ARJEN ROBBEN

Age: 34

Club: Bayern Munich, Germany

Contracted til: May 2019

The Dutch winger is weighing up his options, but a Bayern exit appears likely.

 

WESLEY SNEIJDER

Age: 34

Club: Al-Gharafa, Qatar

Contracted til: June 2019

The former Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Holland star is dominating in Qatar and could be a realistic option.

 

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC

Age: 37

Club: LA Galaxy, USA

Contracted til: December 2019

Has extended his deal with LA Galaxy but could be available midway through next season.

 

CESC FABREGAS

Age: 31

Club: Chelsea, England

Contracted til: May 2019

The former Spain, Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder looks set to leave Stamford Bridge.



REVEALED: The 29 projects on council’s advocacy list

Premium Content REVEALED: The 29 projects on council’s advocacy list

Ahead of the launch of the advocacy document, the NewsMail can reveal the...

ONE YEAR ON: State of play since decision to lower spillway

Premium Content ONE YEAR ON: State of play since decision to lower spillway

For North Burnett citrus growers, Hamish and Megan McDonald, the announcement...

Election race: Batt’s $200K promise for local club

Premium Content Election race: Batt’s $200K promise for local club

Batt announces $200,000 investment to upgrade the Bundaberg Race Club facilities...