Heart beating steady on player signings
A-League club-in-waiting Melbourne Heart hope to have their first players signed by the end of this year as their debut season shopping list takes firm shape.
Heart coach John van’t Schip and football operations manager John Didulica have been taking in as many A-League matches as possible as they look for the right mix of players for their inaugural squad next season.
The newcomers have been able to hold discussions with locally-based players since October 1, but are yet to announce any signings.
Didulica said that may not happen until early next year out of respect to players and their current employers, though he admitted the club hoped to have “four or five players committed” by January 1.
“We’re very conscious of the important roles the existing clubs have played and we have no intention derailing what the players have done with those clubs,” Didulica told AAP.
“We won’t be making any announcements until the players and their clubs are ready as well.”
Dutchman van’t Schip will also use his extensive experience in Europe to search for overseas players.
But Didulica said any signings would come down to whether the players fitted the style van’t Schip had earmarked for the fledgling club.
“We’re certainly not going to sign a hatful of players and throw them together and see how it goes,” Didulica said.
“We’re being very methodical about what we do.
“The coach knows the style of play he wants to play and we’re finding the players who may suit that style, seeing the qualities of individual players, and offering contracts to play we feel fit the style.”
Already the club has been heavily linked with ex-Socceroos Mark Viduka and Josip Skoko – both of whom are friendly with their ex-Melbourne Knights clubmate Didulica.
But Didulica said the Heart had not formally spoken to either, though he admitted the new club would jump at the chance to sign both should they wish to continue their careers.
While Viduka hasn’t played since last season, Skoko is in the final year of a contract with Croatian club Hajduk Split.
“Our position is we respect what those guys have achieved, and if they’ve still got the hunger to play football, we’d love to meet them and discuss what they want to do,” Didulica said.© AAP 2013