While arch-rivals Melbourne Victory gear up for a A-League grand final that could deny them an Asian Champions League place, Melbourne City will begin a post-season inquest following another campaign of disappointment.
Player departures will be confirmed as soon as Monday, but one that won’t be leaving is Daniel Arzani, who re-committed to the City cause in the wake of Friday’s season-ending semi-final loss to Newcastle Jets.
City’s owners signalled their intent to build next year’s title challenge around Arzani earlier this month, with the 19-year-old confirming he’d be staying in the A-League.
“I completely agree with (the owners). At my age, what I need is games, games, games,” Arzani told AAP.
“I know I’m going to be playing here and I know the staff around me. They know me, they know my body and they know what I need to work on.
“It’s the best environment for me to grow.”
While Arzani – who remains in the frame for a World Cup berth with Australia – will stay, others will leave.
Bruce Kamau, Nick Fitzgerald and Ruon Tongyik’s departures – most likely for Western Sydney – could be confirmed as early as Monday.
Stefan Mauk will return to Dutch club NEC but could yet find himself in England among the Australian contingent in the Championship if a possible move comes off.
Out-of-contract defender Manny Muscat is expected to be released, while Warren Joyce is keen to see unsigned utility Osama Malik retained.
Club captain Michael Jakobsen has been linked with Adelaide, with City interested in United’s Melbourne-raised defender Ersan Gulum.
Bart Schenkeveld’s fine season has seen the Dutchman attract interest from Europe, though the club’s best and fairest is contracted for another year.
It would also come as no surprise if a deal was struck to release Polish marquee Marcin Budzinski from the second year of his deal, given his failure to impact the A-League.
Star forward Bruno Fornaroli, who has another year on his marquee deal, backed Joyce and City’s backroom team to get their recruitment right.
“We can do better. Everyone at Melbourne City,” he said.
“We can get to a final and we can win it. We tried this season and we will do again, we have to do just a little bit more.”
City coaches and players were still in disbelief as to the manner of their exit as they returned to Melbourne, describing Riley McGree’s extraordinary effort as “beyond lucky”.
Their loss was compounded by the fact that it cost them a home grand final.
Victory’s defeat of Sydney FC on Saturday meant a City success would have seen the showpiece match played at Etihad Stadium.
A Victory championship would come at a further cost to City; with the fourth-placed finishers nabbing their place in Asia.
Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.