United set to unveil first signing of season

Adelaide United’s first new signing of the season is imminent – but will it be enough to satisfy the fans, asks Spiro Karanikos-Mimis.

Jul 29, 2021, updated Jul 30, 2021
Adelaide United won the 2019 FFA Cup Final against Melbourne City at Hindmarsh, but grand finals will now be played in Sydney. Photo: AAP/David Mariuz

Adelaide United won the 2019 FFA Cup Final against Melbourne City at Hindmarsh, but grand finals will now be played in Sydney. Photo: AAP/David Mariuz

InDaily understands that the signing will be an Australian, and solid but not ground-breaking.

Whilst it’s great that the Reds have finally made a move in the player market, it may not be enough to swell growing fan concern about how the Reds are shaping up for the upcoming season.

During the online fan’s forum broadcast on 22 July, Adelaide United’s CEO Nathan Kosmina and head coach Carl Veart told fans that their search for new players was deliberate and methodical.

And whilst that may be true, lots of good players have signed for other clubs, leaving Reds fans frustrated.

Veart said that the club had 21 players signed for the upcoming season. This is correct but of the 21 players on the books, five are on scholarship deals.

This means, as it stands, the Reds only have 16 players signed to senior deals. Today’s signing will be their seventeenth. United can potentially offer another six players senior deals, as the maximum squad size in the A-League is 23 (excluding scholarship players).

Veart also said the club was in discussions with three players (one which we assume is being announced today), so progress is being made, albeit much slower than most other clubs.

He also said the Reds had spoken to much-loved former captain Isaias, who is now a free agent. But he cautioned that Isaias had “lots on his plate” – it seems United will only be an option if Sanchez doesn’t get another lucrative deal elsewhere.

Therefore, by the end of today, United will have only signed one new player to a senior deal for the upcoming season (they have of course re-signed Craig Goodwin and Michael Jakobsen and signed Alexandar Popovic and Jonny Yull to scholarship deals). Therefore, some fans are concerned about the progress the club is making.

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The A-League season won’t start until October, so there is time for United to fill its senior ranks, but they’ve missed out on some potentially excellent additions to their squad.

Johnny Koutroumbis is one example. Born and raised is South Australia, he seemed the perfect answer to United’s need for defenders. The former Adelaide United youth player can play anywhere in defensive, as well as being a capable back-up in defensive midfield.

Instead, he was courted by Western Sydney Wanderers where he has recently signed a two-year deal. This was a clear missed opportunity. The Reds have seen many players sign for rivals: Jason Geria left Perth for the Victory, Josh Brillante returned from Greece to sign with Victory, Jason Davidson returned from Korea and signed with Victory, Ben Garuccio left City for Western United, Chris Ikonomidis left Perth for Victory, Terry Antonis returned from Korea and signed with Western Sydney Wanderers.

You get the idea.

Now, I accept that you can’t have everyone and there is a salary cap to worry about. But what is so concerning is that United have not been linked to any of these players.

Fans want the Reds to bring in good players to compensate for the ones that have left. Here’s hoping new Head of Football Vito Basile, Veart, Aloisi and others have some rabbits to pull out of their hats.

Adelaide United squad status (excluding today’s announcement)

Contracted: James Delianov, Joe Gauci, Ethan Cox (scholarship), George Timotheou, Javi Lopez, Joe Caletti, Josh Cavallo, Louis D’Arrigo, Ben Halloran, Ryan Kitto, Stefan Mauk, Juande, Yaya Dukuly (scholarship), Al Hassan Toure, Mohammed Toure (scholarship), Kusini Yengi, Johnny Yull (scholarship), Alexandar Popovic (scholarship), Bernardo (scholarship), Craig Goodwin (loan extension), Michael Jakobsen (one year extension).

Out of Contract: Michael Marrone, Nathan Konstandopoulos.

Out: Ryan Strain (Maccabi Haifa), Yared Abetew (Newcastle Olympic), Jordan Elsey (Newcastle Jets), Pacifique Niyongabire (released), Noah Smith (released), Dakota Ochsenham (released), Domenic Costanzo (Croydon Kings), Tomi Juric (Macarthur).

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