Flores signing just what the football gods ordered
The Central Coast Mariners' John Hutchinson (left) and Bradley Porter hold back Marcos Flores. AAP Image/Paul Miller
Marcos Flores can look forward to an early Christmas present this year. On December 7, his new club, Melbourne Victory, travels to Hindmarsh Stadium and you can be sure Adelaide United fans will send him their most festive greetings.
Flores has of course joined Victory after allegedly spurning the advances of former club Adelaide, thus guaranteeing one of the most rancorous rivalries in the A-League has an even greater edge to it this coming season.
The Argentine’s agent alleges United never put an official offer on the table for the former Johnny Warren medal winner – a claim strenuously denied by Adelaide officials, who took the unprecedented step of penning a statement outlining their side of the story.
Whichever side you believe, the fact is Flores is a high-quality signing who should fit in seamlessly to a squad recently shorn of attacking talents Harry Kewell and Carlos Hernandez.
And more importantly, Flores’ quasi-defection to Adelaide’s most bitter rivals adds another layer to the A-League story – giving Victory and Reds fans alike all the more reason to anticipate what should be some epic upcoming encounters.
It’s these kinds of stories which help raise interest in the league and add a bit of spice and colour to regular season fixtures.
Which is why it’s also not a bad thing Western Sydney Wanderers have signed trio Shannon Cole, Michael Beauchamp and Mark Bridge from Sydney FC.
Most Sky Blues fans would probably admit to their relief at the departure of three players who didn’t exactly play their best football at the Sydney Football Stadium and who are looking to rebuild their careers across town.
And the presence of former Sydney players in the Wanderers squad gives fans of both clubs plenty of excuses to ratchet up the rivalry even before a ball has been kicked.
Both clubs are still looking to finalise their squads, although Sydney FC took another step closer with the signing of Croatian front man Krunoslav Lovrek during the week.
The much-travelled attacker has a bit of pedigree in Asian football, having been part of the Jeonbuk Motors squad which lost the 2011 AFC Champions League final to Al Sadd – although he personally missed the controversial decider through suspension.
Lovrek could prove an astute signing at this level, although he’s not exactly the big-name foreign star the Sky Blues arguably need to entice a few more fans through the gate.
Hopefully that’s something Flores can help do at Melbourne Victory, particularly if he rekindles his previous sparkling A-League form.
Speaking of sparkling – and with apologies for the sudden change of tack – but I owe somewhat of an apology to the Spanish national side which so brilliantly tore apart Italy in the Euro 2012 final.
Last week I suggested it was about time someone knocked Spain off their perch, but no honest football fan could complain about the way the Spaniards so systematically unlocked the Italian defence in their 4-0 rampage in Kiev.
Debates about whether they’re the greatest international team of all time will rage on in earnest but one thing is certain, Spain are without doubt deserved European champions.
If only an A-League club could entice a supposedly out of form star like Fernando Torres to arrive on our shores then we’d really have some off-season action to discuss.
Even so, the unveiling of Flores in Victory colours is bound to generate plenty of interest – and that’s not a bad thing at all with the new campaign still some three months away.
Mike Tuckerman is a Sydney-born journalist and lifelong football fan. After lengthy stints watching the beautiful game in Germany and Japan, he has settled in Brisbane and has been a Roar columnist since December 2008. Follow Mike on twitter @Mike_Tuckerman
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