The A-League’s all-time top scorer, a Johnny Warren medallist, six of this season’s top 10 goal scorers and the league leaders’ entire defence are among the 168 players coming off-contract at the end of this season in a record year for player contract instability.
Nearly 70 per cent of A-League players do not yet know where they will be playing beyond June as uncertainty over next season’s calendar, collective bargaining agreement and a new broadcast deal has threatens mass squad upheaval across the competition.
All-time A-League top scorer Besart Berisha is among those coming off-contract at the end of this season.Credit:Getty Images
The newly independent A-League is yet to secure a TV deal for next season but the chances of the league moving into winter appear to have dimmed, after the Herald yesterday revealed potential broadcasters almost unanimously prefer a summer competition. That uncertainty, however, has contributed to a reluctance from clubs to offer long-term deals to players at a time when the next salary cap remains undefined.
An average of 14 players are coming off-contract at each club. Adelaide and Newcastle have the fewest off-contract players, with 10, while Perth Glory have 20 players in the final months of their deals.
The Australian players’ union, The PFA, informed the Herald they have never experienced such a large volume of players coming-off contract in a single season with the long list including rising stars and some of the competition’s biggest names.
Besart Berisha is one of the most notable, the A-League’s all-time top scorer is off contract with Western United in June. The 2016 player of the year, Diego Castro, is yet to renew his deal with Perth while young Brisbane Roar striker Dylan Wenzel-Halls will have no shortage of offers from rival clubs, having already scored six goals in the final year of his contract.
Sydney FC risk losing Australian international defender Ryan McGowan. Western Sydney Wanderers are yet to secure promising young fullbacks Daniel Wilmering and Tate Russell while Macarthur FC have a large core of their squad coming off-contract, including Basque duo Benat Etxebarria and Mikael Susaeta.
Perhaps one of the biggest concerns any one club faces is Central Coast Mariners’ hopes of keeping their entire defensive unit. Goalkeeper Mark Birighitti and defenders; Ruon Tongyik, Kye Rowles, Stefan Nigro and Jack Clisby have started every game for the surprise league leaders this season but the quintet are yet to extend their stay with the club.
Rising star Alou Kuol is set to pen a new deal with the MarinersCredit:Getty
One of the names that is not no longer on the off-contract list is that of Central Coast Mariners’ in-form striker, Alou Kuol. In a major coup for the Gosford club, the 19-year-old Kuol rejected offers from a host of rival clubs and opted to remain with the club that gave him his professional debut, agreeing to a contract extension that ensures he will remain on the Central Coast next season. Kuol has been one of the stars of the Mariners suprise form, netting six times in 12 appearances this season.
Adelaide United (10)
Domenic Costanzo, Yaya Dukuly, Jordan Elsey, Joe Gauci, Tomi Juric, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Javi Lopez, Michael Marrone, Dakota Ochsenham, Noah Smith.
Brisbane Roar (15)
Rahmat Akbari, Tom Aldred, Joshua Brindell-South, Jordan Courtney-Perkins, Jesse Daley, Riku Danzaki, Macklin Freke, Macaulay Gillesphey, Jai Ingham, Danny Kim, Masato Kudo, Scott McDonald, Jay O’Shea, Izaack Powell, Dylan Wenzel-Halls.
Central Coast Mariners (15)
Mark Birighitti, Daniel Bouman, Jaden Casella, Jack Clisby, Danny De Silva, Daniel Hall, Matthew Hatch, Stefan Jankovic, Michal Janota, Stefan Nigro, Adam Pearce, Kye Rowles, Matthew Simon, Ruon Tongyik, Marco Urena.
Macarthur FC (16)
Macarthur star Benat Etxebarria is yet to sign a deal for next season.Credit:Getty
Benat Etxebarria, Ivan Franjic, Antony Golec, Charles M’Mombwa, Antonis Martis, Jake McGing, James Meredith, Yianni Nicolaou, Milislav Popovic, Loic Puyo, Liam Rose, Michael Ruhs, Walter Scott, Nick Suman, Markel Susaeta, Aleks Susnjar.
Melbourne City (11)
Florin Berenguer, Raphael Borges Rodrigues, Stefan Colakovski, Taras Gomulka, Curtis Good, Scott Jamieson, Craig Noone, Bernardo Oliveira, Adrian Luna, Kerrin Stokes, Naoki Tsubaki.
Melbourne Victory (15)
Aaron Anderson, Nick Ansell, Jake Brimmer, Jacob Butterfield, Max Crocombe, Ben Folami, Rudy Gestede, Elvis Kamsoba, Birkan Kirdar, Robbie Kruse, Brandon Lauton, So Nishikawa, Storm Roux, Dylan Ryan, Adama Traore.
Newcastle Jets (10)
Ali Abbas, Jack Armson, Nigel Boogard, Jack Duncan, Lachlan Jakcson, Johnny Koutroumbis, Roy O’Donovan, Kosta Petratos, Jack Simmons, Nikolai Topor-Stanley.
Perth Glory (20)
Carlo Armiento, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Bryce Bafford, Luke Bodnar, Diego Castro, Giordano Colli, Cameron Cook, Nick D’Agostino, Declan Hughes, Chris Ikonomidis, Dane Ingham, Andy Keogh, Neil Kilkenny, Trent Ostler, Liam Reddy, Daniel Stynes, Nick Sullivan, Mason Tatafu, Tando Velaphi, Brandon Wilson.
Sydney FC (13)
Socceroo Ryan McGowan is off-contract with Sydney FC in June.Credit:Getty
Alex Baumjohann, Trent Buhagiar, Anthony Caceres, Bobo, Patrick Flottmann, Tom Heward-Belle, Ryan McGowan, Paulo Retre, Jordi Swibel, Callum Talbot, Ben Warland, Alex Wilkinson, Chris Zuvela.
Wellington Phoenix (14)
Ulises Davila, Luke DeVere, Cameron Devlin, Louis Fenton, Tomer Hemed, Josh Laws, Clayton Lewis, Stefan Marinovic, James McGarry, Liam McGing, Mirza Muratovic, Matthew Ridenton, Oliver Sail, Ben Waine.
Western Sydney Wanderers (13)
Phillip Cancar, Jarrod Carluccio, Simon Cox, Daniel Giorgevski, Ziggy Gordon, Kosta Grozos, Bruce Kamau, Alessandro Lopane, Nicolai Muller, Jordan O’Doherty, Tate Russell, Daniel Wilmering, Kwame Yeboah.
Western United (16)
Besart Berisha, Max Burgess, Aaron Calver, Andrew Durante, Luke Duzel, Brendan Hamill, Filip Kurto, Steven Lustica, Nicolas Milanovic, Connor Pain, Sebastian Pasquali, Dylan Pierias, Josh Risdon, Jerry Skotadis, Tomislav Uskok, Ivan Vujica.
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