A-League and Australian transfer news and rumours: Melbourne Victory round out signings with former Juventus junior

Sporting News rounds up all the transfer tidbits and rumours surrounding Australia’s domestic competition, national team players and more…

October 21 – Melbourne Victory round out signings with former Juventus junior

Italian forward Francesco Margiotta has joined Melbourne Victory on a one-year deal, the club has confirmed

Margiotta is Tony Popovic’s 12th off-season signing as the club look to bounce back from a shocking 2020-21 campaign. 

The 28-year-old played youth football for Juventus and was most recently lining up for Serie B side Cheivo. 

“I have heard a lot about the team, the League and Australia’s passion for football,” Margiotta said.

“Melbourne Victory has built a strong squad of which I am excited to be a part of. I have seen footage of the stadium and the fans and I am looking forward to playing in front of the club’s passionate supporters and helping the team succeed in 2021/22.”

Victory previously suggested on Twitter that Margiotta would be the club’s final player signing announcement before the new season kicks off on November 19. 

October 18 – Former Socceroo Ivan Franjic joins NPL club with brother

Victorian side Heidelberg United have confirmed the double signing of Ivan and Joseph Franjic for the 2022 season. 

Ivan, a 20-time Socceroo, was lining up for Macarthur FC in the A-League last season, while Joey has previously played for Melbourne Knights and Hume City in the Victorian NPL. 

Heidelberg are coached by George Katsakis with both brothers indicating the big role he played in their decision to sign.

“I’ve spoken to Kats in the past and known him for a while. I’ve heard good things about him, and he’s had plenty of success with Heidelberg so that really intrigued me to come down,” Ivan Franjic said via a club statement

“I’m looking forward to a big year ahead with all the Bergers fans supporting us.”  

October 16 – Kwame Yeboah quits Western Sydney Wanderers for modelling career

Western Sydney Wanderers attacker Kwame Yeboah has quit the A-League to pursue a modelling career.

Only a month before the new season, the 27-year-old has decided to sign a professional modelling contract after an eight-year senior football career, reports Fox Sports scribe James Dodd.

Kwame Yeboah has left @wswanderersfc and has signed a professional modelling contract.

Had been contemplating his future in the game for a while and has decided to pursue another passion.

Good luck to him!#WSW @aleaguemen

— James Dodd (@JamesDoddFOX) October 15, 2021

Yeboah shot to fame as a 19-year-old at Brisbane Roar in 2013, scoring two goals and exciting fans with his extravagent style of play.

The talented forward earned a move to Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach in 2014, but never played for their first team during a four-year stint.

Yeboah returned to Australia with the Wanderers in 2019, scoring 12 goals in 50 games over the past two seasons.

October 15 – Western Sydney Wanderers linked with Jack Rodwell

Former Premier League midfielder Jack Rodwell is on the radar of Western Sydney Wanderers, reports FTBL

The 30-year-old is currently a free agent after being released by Sheffield United earlier this year. 

Rodwell recently had an unsuccessful trial with an MLS club but the Wanderers are considering handing him a career lifeline with one visa spot still available. 

After turning heads with Manchester City, Rodwell’s career suffered through injuries and relegation with Sunderland. 

Western Sydney did welcome a new signing on Friday with Japanese attacker Keijiro Ogawa joining the club on loan.


October 14 – Caleb Watts signs new Southampton deal

Australian midfielder Caleb Watts has secured a contract extension with Southampton which runs until 2023, the club has confirmed

The 19-year-old made his Premier League debut for the Saints earlier this year and has been impressing regularly for their reserve side. 

“Caleb has been a consistent and strong performer for our B Team this season,” Southampton academy director Matt Hale said. 

“He is someone we think very highly of and through a really robust individual development plan which we have in place for him, we believe can go on to achieve great things with us.

“He has had some excellent experiences so far in his young career, not least representing his country in the recent Olympics in Tokyo.”

Watts adding: “I’m really pleased to get the deal signed and can’t wait for the next stage of my career now.

“The club has a great track record of developing players and obviously I can benefit from that. So hopefully I can get into the matchday squads again and continue that tradition.” 

October 13 – Archie Thompson accepts Melbourne Victory role

After recently opening up about his bitter Melbourne Victory exit as a player , Archie Thompson has confirmed he will return to the club in a coaching capacity. 

“I’m excited to be part of the Melbourne Victory academy teams as a specialised coach coming in and hopefully giving my expertise to some of these kids,” Thompson said on the Football From A to Z  podcast. 

“Not just on the field, but I feel like I want to give that mentoring role where there’s a certain expectation on being a professional footballer and you can sometimes get lost, caught up in it all, and hopefully my expertise, not just on the field but off, can keep a lot of these kids grounded.

“I can maybe teach them a lot of things not to do, but in anyone’s journey you learn more from your mistakes than your achievements and I’ve learned a lot and still learning.

“Hopefully I can teach some of these younger generations coming through and they can go on to flourish then that’s what I’m hoping for.

“To be part of the Melbourne Victory set-up, I know John Didulica wants to get a lot of old DNA, ex-players coming in and that’s a real boost for me and a lot of those players that left the club to just build that bond again.”  

Thompson played over 200 games for Victory winning three A-League championships in the process. 

October 10 – Four A-League clubs dealing with unvaccinated players

Macarthur FC, Melbourne Victory, Perth Glory and Western Sydney Wanderers are among A-League clubs with players reluctant to get vaccinated against COVID-19, reports  FTBL .

Around 15 players in the competition have reportedly declined to take the vaccine and could be stood down next week as the new season draws closer.

Some players are seeking medical exemptions with their clubs and the Australian Professional Leagues set to support those cases. 

Those that are declining on moral grounds however risk having their contracts terminated or being sidelined for the season. 

Victoria has mandated for athletes to be vaccinated moving forward, while interstate and overseas travel is set to require vaccination for the forseeable future. 

The 2021-22 A-League Men’s season kicks off on November 19  meaning clubs still have time to get their players vaccinated in time. 

October 6 – Tara Rushton leaves Fox Sports

Beloved football personality Tara Rushton has confirmed her exit from Fox Sports in the wake of the network losing their A-Leagues and national team rights. 

“It’s been an incredible 8 years @foxsportsaus I’ve worked with the best and learnt from the best. Forever grateful,” Rushton posted on Instagram

Having impressed over the years with her coverage of the A-Leagues, Socceroos and Matildas, a move to Network 10 could well be looming.

The new home of Australian football has already recruited commentators Simon Hill and Andy Harper with a female football host a hole they’re yet to fill. 

A move to Stan Sport could also happen with Mark Bosnich recently signing with the streaming service after also parting ways with Fox Sports. 

October 4 – Socceroos star Harry Souttar circled by Premier League duo

Australian defender Harry Souttar is being scouted by both Everton and Tottenham, reports the Stoke Sentinel .

The 22-year-old has seen scouts from both clubs attend Stoke City games this season as they identify him as a possible future signing. 

It’s been reported Everton may view Souttar as a replacement for Yerry Mina, who has been tipped to move on next season. 

Souttar signed a contract extension with Stoke in February but a move to the Premier League seems like only a matter of time as he continues to impress in the Championship. 

Earlier this year , it was reported that West Ham, Wolverhampton and Crystal Palace had all also set their sights on Souttar. 


October 3 – Perth Glory lose Diego Castro in wake of Daniel Sturridge signing

Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has confirmed Spanish star Diego Castro won’t be lining up for the club next season. 

While the club pulled off the marquee signing of Daniel Sturridge on Friday , that deal does signal the end of Castro’s stay at Glory. 

“[Castro] won’t fit into our squad for this year…it’s one of the biggest disappointments of this,” Sage said via  SEN WA

The 39-year-old joined Perth in 2015 and won the Johnny Warren Medal in his first season in the A-League. 

September 30 – Melbourne Victory set to sign Italian striker Francesco Margiotta

Melbourne Victory are closing in on a striker to complete their squad with Italian forward Francesco Margiotta set to join the club.

Daniel Garb  reports the 28-year-old attacker, who came through Juventus’ academy, is close to finalising a deal with Victory.

Margiotta most recently played for Chievo Verona in Italy’s Serie B, scoring five goals in 30 matches.

His best season came in 2019-20 at Swiss Super League side FC Luzern when he scored 14 goals and created 12 assists in 43 matches.

If the deal is completed, Margiotta will join a Victory attack that includes Chris Ikonmidis, Marco Rojas, Robbie Kruse, Nick D’Agostino and Ben Folami.

September 29 – Agent confirms Melbourne Victory deal for Roderick Miranda

Melbourne Victory’s latest acquisition has been confirmed by the player’s agency a little prematurely. 

Ultimate Sports LDA posted on Instagram on Wednesday morning confirming Roderick Miranda has wrapped up a deal to join Victory. 

The Portuguese defender had been linked with a move earlier in the month and it now appears just a matter of time before the club confirms his signing. 

Miranda joined current Premier League club Wolves in 2017 and was most recently playing in Turkey for Gaziantep. 

September 27 – Gianni Stensness picks Socceroos over New Zealand

Former Central Coast Mariners midfielder Gianni Stensness has opted to represent Australia and not New Zealand at senior level. 

The 22-year-old played for Australia at Under 20 level in 2017 before switching to the All Whites, who he represented at the U20 World Cup in 2019. 

Stensness is currently playing club football in Norway for Viking FK and  informed New Zealand Football  of his preference to play for the Socceroos.  

“I’m not going to say it isn’t disappointing to see Gianni make that choice,” coach Danny Hay said. 

“He was part of the Olympic team that showed how exciting the future of New Zealand football is looking and I believe his time in our national setup has played a major role in his development. Ultimately it is his decision, and we will respect it.” 

September 26 – Socceroo Mustafa Amini loaned out in Cyprus

Australian midfielder Mustafa Amini has joined PAEEK on loan from Apollon Limassol, his parent club has confirmed

The eight-time Socceroos sealed a move to Cyprus in August but will be lining up for a different side in the country until the end of the season. 

Amini hasn’t played competitively since late 2020 with the former Central Coast Mariners going under the knife for a knee issue in early 2021 during a temporary return to Australia. 

September 24 – Christian Theoharous training with Western United

Former Melbourne Victory youngster Christian Theoharous has been spotted training with Western United  as he looks to earn a contract.

The 21-year-old is currently a free agent after being released by German club Borussia Monchengladbach at the end of last season. 

Theoharous left Victory in 2018 to take up the opportunity overseas having come through the club’s youth system. 

The attacker never made a senior appearance for Monchengladbach but did play regularly for their reserve side. 


September 24 – Winston Reid not on Wellington Phoenix’s radar after West Ham exit

Wellington Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay has dismissed any suggestions the club may sign New Zealand international Winston Reid.

The 33-year-old was released by Premier League club West Ham this week having been part of the club since 2010. 

Reid had been loaned out across the past two seasons and has struggled with injuries in recent years. 

While a homecoming to the Phoenix might be a fitting way to end his career, Talay was quick to shutdown rumours that it could happen anytime soon.

“No. It’s the first time I’m hearing about it, from you guys,” Talay said.

“That’s one thing our club does is try to promote from within and give these players opportunities to play. We know where we sit in the football landscape, we’re not Barcelona or Real Madrid…” 

September 22 – Ex-Socceroo Erik Paartalu secures India exit

Australian midfielder Erik Paartalu has been released by Indian Super League side Bengaluru. 

The 35-year-old had been with the club since 2017 but recently found himself frozen out of the side with the two parties agreeing to go their separate ways.

“The club and Erik Paartalu have decided to part ways by mutual consent. We thank Erik for his time at BFC and we wish him the best for the future,” Bengaluru posted on Twitter .

Paartalu, who made two appearances for the Socceroos, has previously played in the A-League for Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City. 


September 20 – Harry Kewell sacked by Barnet after seven games

Harry Kewell’s tumultuous coaching career has hit another snag with the Socceroo legend sacked after only seven games in charge of Barnet FC.

The fifth-tier English club decided to part with Kewell after suffering two draws and five losses in their seven games with the Australian as their leader.

With Barnet second-bottom on the National League table, head of football Dean Brennan explained it was a decision that had to be made.

“It was clear how much Harry Kewell wanted to have a positive impact, but ultimately the results and the poor start to the season have dictated our decision,” Brennan said.

“The plan for this season was for Barnet FC to be challenging in the top half of the table and that is still very much our aim.”

Kewell has coached three other clubs previously, with relatively short tenures with Crawley Town, Notts County and Oldham Athletic in England’s League Two.

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