Mooy’s Terriers transfer seals ideal outcome for all sides

Evan Morgan Grahame Columnist

By Evan Morgan Grahame, Evan Morgan Grahame is a Roar Expert

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    In the space of three-and-a-half years, the City Group have turned their acquisition of Melbourne’s second A-League club into an investment that has paid for itself.

    Aaron Mooy’s transfer to Huddersfield – making him a permanent Terrier, having enjoyed a wildly successful loan spell there last season – will see Manchester City, the City Group’s flagship franchise, net a profit of around £10 million.

    Signed from Melbourne City, Mooy was the first serious example of the City Group shuffling an Australian player asset from one wing of the organisation to another, with a legitimate view to making a profit.

    Mooy was talented – the A-League’s best Australian, in his final season here – but the success he went on to have at Huddersfield caused his value to skyrocket to a degree few would have expected.

    He was, along with Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey, and perhaps a few others, the Championship’s best midfielder, and was named in the Team of the Season. He was critical in the Terriers’ promotion push, a campaign crowned gloriously at Wembley with a penalty shoot-out victory in the Playoff Final.


    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    The fee he has reportedly commanded has made the whole A-League investment worth every penny; quite literally, the fee basically matches the sum the City Group paid to buy the Melbourne Heart.

    There are smiling faces everywhere now, on all sides of the agreement. Mooy stays with the club that value him so highly, and will be assured of a place in their starting XI next season, which happens also to be their first ever in the Premier League.

    Manchester City make a tidy profit, and will also have gleaming opinions now as to the reservoir of talent available to them in the A-League. Huddersfield get to maintain team continuity, which is so vital to promoted clubs. The most successful promoted teams over the last few years in the Premier League have all kept faith in the core talent that dragged them into the top division, with Swansea City, Southampton and Bournemouth all succeeding with players that have been fixtures at the club throughout multiple league divisions.

    As Huddersfield are now set to receive a staggering spike in income, they will no doubt garnish Mooy and the rest of the team with some more high-profile additions, but Mooy’s retention speaks volumes as to their practicality. Too many teams that gut their playing roster in a dizzy frenzy once promotion to the top league is secured end up going straight back down again, laden with players on big – and suddenly burdensome – wages.

    Mooy is 26, and may have thought his European career was over when he was shipped out of St Mirren in his early twenties. In the space of four A-League seasons, however, he has fought his way back to the top, and is now stepping out as one of our best exports.

    There were genuine concerns as to his short-term future when Manchester City signed him a year ago. Would he wallow on the edges of the first team? Would his career stall playing third-fiddle to City’s stable of exceptional midfielders, watching on mournfully as Yaya Toure, Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho ate up all the playing time?

    The loan deal to Huddersfield allayed many of those fears, but still, nothing was assured. Players as good as Mooy have had tilts at European success derailed by bad luck, injuries or a lack of playing time.

    Mooy fought off all those threats by playing well, by making himself a vital part of a highly capable team, albeit the first Championship team to ever seize promotion with a negative goal-difference.

    The future now, for Mooy, is brighter than ever. The entire Huddersfield team will need time to adjust to the rigours of the Premier League, and supported as they are by the trust of their manager David Wagner, Mooy and the rest will be given that time.

    So many players – and managers – who are new to the Premier League speak of the ferocious pace the game is played at; no area of the pitch is more affected by this than the maw of the midfield, and Mooy’s abilities to pass and move under extreme pressure will be vigorously tested next season.

    Mooy is capable of thriving in these circumstances; he has that rare poise on the ball, a quality that set him apart in the A-League, but is a common requirement in England. Additionally, fully aware as he must be of the opportunity he has, his energy will no doubt be pushed to its limits. He was one of the Championship’s most active tacklers last season, and his effort in that regard will need to be just as – if not more – tenacious.

    The City Group’s incursion into football in Australia was met with no small amount of suspicion, and questions as to the effect – positive and negative – Melbourne City’s presence has on the A-League are still worth discussing. What we have now, though, in Aaron Mooy’s wonderful rise, is a genuine success story, one that, in effect, began in the A-League, and one that could not have reached its shining climax without the presence of the City Group.

    The loan system, particularly in City’s case, is so often a process where the player involved is shunted out the back end looking like a victim of some callous machine. Mooy is no victim, and he now stands at the base of a glorious alp, looking up at the golden mountaintop, preparing for his most exciting professional expedition yet.

    Evan Morgan Grahame
    Evan Morgan Grahame

    Evan Morgan Grahame is a Melbourne-based journalist. Gleaning what he could from his brief career as a painter, the canvas of the football pitch is now his subject of contemplation, with the beautiful game sketching new, intriguing compositions every week. He has been one of The Roar's Expert columnists since 2016. Follow him on Twitter @Evan_M_G.

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    The Crowd Says (30)

    • June 17th 2017 @ 6:18am
      Waz said | June 17th 2017 @ 6:18am | ! Report

      “In the space of three-and-a-half years, the City Group have turned their acquisition of Melbourne’s second A-League club into an investment that has paid for itself” ….. not quite, City have been losing $5m/year for three plus years so that’s a loss of $15m+ on top of the actual purchase price. And that’s before the Cahill experiment last season.

      This is a good deal for Manchester City, not because of the absolute numbers (these are just rounding errors on CFGs rather large bank accounts), but because it improves their UEFA Financial Fair Play situation.

      The other big winner of course is Mooy and Australian football ?

      • June 17th 2017 @ 12:17pm
        j,binnie said | June 17th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

        Waz- another point Evan has apparently missed is the “compensation packages” given to teams that have been relegated from the EPL by the “powers that be” .
        This ‘package” is actually in millions of pounds and reduces every year for 3 years if the club should not win promotion back to the top division.
        One has to assume this package has come into being to help clubs “laden by those huge and cumbersome contracts” that Evan mentions in this article.Perhaps an oversight. Cheers jb.

      • Columnist

        June 17th 2017 @ 2:46pm
        Stuart Thomas said | June 17th 2017 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

        Well said waz. Completely agree. The only problem is that very few people will actually get to watch Aaron in his first season of the Premier League with the stupidity of the Optus deal.

        • June 17th 2017 @ 3:23pm
          Nemesis said | June 17th 2017 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

          By all available information that has been presented to the financial markets, more people have access to EPL since it moved to Optus than had access to EPL on Foxtel.

      • Roar Rookie

        June 17th 2017 @ 4:08pm
        Grobbelaar said | June 17th 2017 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

        I was wondering about this, of course even $15 mill is petty cash to the City group.

    • June 17th 2017 @ 6:43am
      Red Block said | June 17th 2017 @ 6:43am | ! Report

      What a shame so few of us will get to see Mooy’s assault on the EPL. With the Optus take-up being lower than a well-fed carpet snake’s belly, only a handful of devotees willing to pay the price will be watching.

      Stil Mooy’s ascendence is a warning to other codes that players are not washed up by their mid-20s. So often if you are not picked out at 17 and fast track into academies, players of real quality who are late bloomers are shown the door, never to reach their true potential.

      Obviou;y the City Group saw the potential and reaped the rewards.

      • June 17th 2017 @ 10:10am
        Waz said | June 17th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

        Plenty of ways too watch it you big sook, you could even get an Optus mobile or broadband contract and watch it there. It’s not rocket science. There’s even a game on SBS once a week which Foxtel never did lol

      • June 17th 2017 @ 9:03pm
        Nemesis said | June 17th 2017 @ 9:03pm | ! Report

        “With the Optus take-up being lower than a well-fed carpet snake’s belly”

        The reality is, in Australia, more people currently have access to EPL via OptusSport than had access to EPL for the previous 20 years with Foxtel.

        But, it’s the 21st century and we must not let Facts ruin outrage.

        • June 18th 2017 @ 11:37pm
          Simon said | June 18th 2017 @ 11:37pm | ! Report

          How you can defend having to be on a 12 or 24 month contract to a particular phone company and give them a ton of money just to watch the premier league is beyond me. The internet should make it easier to access content not harder

      • June 18th 2017 @ 6:30am
        Rolland said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:30am | ! Report

        The Optus deal was for free EPL in the first season with Internet connection so i am paying $100.00 bucks a Month for home phone nbn internet and fetch box to watch EPL and can watch on my phone on the Optus app as well as on TV , which is very reasonable compared to foxtel I was paying $160 pm and with Optus I am getting heaps of before and after game shows far superior coverage than anything foxtel use gave me .foxtel just showed the game and the coverage ended .with Optus I can watch tons of EPL and EPL shows before and after fame shows and wpany game anytime when ever I choose .how can you not be happy with what Optus is offering .the criticism is unwarranted ..

    • June 17th 2017 @ 7:20am
      chris said | June 17th 2017 @ 7:20am | ! Report

      This is why the big companies want to invest in football in this country. Running acadamies, investing in infrastructure etc can pay off big time when a player like Mooy is produced. It makes economic sense to invest at the grass roots level because finding a gem even every 5 years can still bring in fantastic returns.

      • Columnist

        June 17th 2017 @ 2:48pm
        Stuart Thomas said | June 17th 2017 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

        Well said Chris. As soon as we realised that there is another Aaron on our Shores right now. Another one after him and another one after him the better off we will all be.

      • Roar Rookie

        June 17th 2017 @ 4:11pm
        Grobbelaar said | June 17th 2017 @ 4:11pm | ! Report


        Ajax run their Academy on the premise that they only need to sell one potential star every few years. MInd you, it’s an absolutely massive undertaking, churning through hundreds (if not thousands) of kids per annum.

        The other thing is that you have to wonder whether an A-League club has the market power to get that sort of return from the players they produce.

      • June 18th 2017 @ 11:27am
        Vin said | June 18th 2017 @ 11:27am | ! Report

        Big clubs have been investing in this country for over 20 years Chris, nothing new here

    • June 17th 2017 @ 8:01am
      jamesb said | June 17th 2017 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      A few years ago, the City Group purchased old Melbourne Heart. Today, the City Group will earn a profit with Mooy going to Huddersfield.

      How it happened with Aaron Mooy?

      -City Group signed Mooy from WSW.
      -Mooy becomes a star with Melbourne City.
      -Mooy signs with Manchester City.
      -He gets loaned out to Huddersfield.
      -Becomes a star at Huddersfield where the club gets promoted to the EPL
      -Now Manchester City wants to sell Mooy to Huddersfield, where the figure will exceed the City Groups purchase of Melbourne Heart.

      If the City Group want to make a profit from selling players, just follow the same process. Rinse and repeat. The next ‘Aaron Mooy’ (promising, potential player) could be Ruon Tongyik. While on the field, we may start to see more Australians play in leagues like the EPL, which therefore would benefit the Socceroos in the long run

      I wonder what WSW coach Tony Popovic thinks about all this?

      • Roar Rookie

        June 17th 2017 @ 9:28am
        Stevo said | June 17th 2017 @ 9:28am | ! Report

        “I wonder what WSW coach Tony Popovic thinks about all this?” He squandered the opportunity for WSW to make a tidy sum. Serious questions should be asked about Popovic.

        • June 17th 2017 @ 9:38am
          Nemesis said | June 17th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

          I think we’re kidding ourselves if we think Mooy, would’ve attracted the same Transfer Fee if he had produced the same football but been playing for WSW (or Melb City).

          For 99.99% of pro footballers, it’s a buyers’ market and it’s just a fact of our place in the pecking order of world football, that the buying clubs will not be offer us the same money they would offer the same player if he is playing in Europe, Central America or Sth America. Maybe, even J-L & K-L clubs would command a higher Transfer Fee from Euro clubs.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 17th 2017 @ 4:13pm
            Grobbelaar said | June 17th 2017 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

            I think that’s right, we just don’t have any market power and in any event, most of our players are signing 1 and 2 year deals, so we are never going to be selling a player to anyone for $10 mill.

          • June 17th 2017 @ 9:51pm
            RBBAnonymous said | June 17th 2017 @ 9:51pm | ! Report

            Perhaps part of the reason is that we are so eager to sell and also don’t understand the true value of our players in the world football market. Being a smaller league we shouldn’t expect to get the largest transfers because that’s how it works in the pyramid. But how many of these buys of Australian players look like bargain basement deals. A player like Rogic and also Mooy look like they could command a $10M pound transfer. Even Maty Ryan commanded a fee of $5M pounds and he is just a goalkeeper.
            When Rogic went to Celtic he was transferred for about 500K pounds while Mooy went to City group on a free transfer from WSW. The disparity between what we receive for a player and what someone like Celtic or Man City could command seems just a little disproportionate. I am not saying for one moment our valuations should be in the tens of millions but surely we are letting some of the contracted talent go for a lot less than what is fair value.

        • Columnist

          June 17th 2017 @ 2:43pm
          Stuart Thomas said | June 17th 2017 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

          Insisted on playing Ono at 10, Mooy said as much in his parting words. Needed the freedom he was given at City. Another Popovic blunder. Let’s not forget Bulut and that Italian fella who shall remain nameless.

          • June 18th 2017 @ 3:18pm
            The Auteur said | June 18th 2017 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

            Iacopo La Rocca?

            • June 18th 2017 @ 7:01pm
              Josh said | June 18th 2017 @ 7:01pm | ! Report


        • June 17th 2017 @ 3:11pm
          Mitcher said | June 17th 2017 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

          It’s certainly a miss, but you can’t win them all. Mooy certainly flourished when given the opportunity at City.

          Poppa’s had his downs, far outweighed by the ups in guiding a hastily pulled together start up club. I’m biased as an unabashed Wanderer and Poppa-phile. But wind the clock back to preseason one and you’d snap up what he’s delivered.

          Your point stands that on this one, as a manager he should be critically assessed on all decisions and this one didn’t turn out. But his position is safe as houses for a little while yet.

    • June 17th 2017 @ 8:02am
      AGO74 said | June 17th 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

      My understanding is that his deal with Huddersfield isn’t complete. Potentially other clubs interested.

    • June 17th 2017 @ 8:32am
      Nemesis said | June 17th 2017 @ 8:32am | ! Report

      Yes. Things are looking good for Aaron Mooy.

      All of us who watch ALeague and also watch the Top League of Europe knew Mooy had the technical ability to be playing in the Top Leagues of Europe. The unknown was whether he had the physical & mental strength to produce every week.

      Maybe the Aaron Mooy success will make football pundits think twice before ridiculing & diminishing the quality of the ALeague and the players who perform well.

      The Aaron Mooy story should be a Case Study used by the PFA to advise all young Australian footballers.

      1) Technical qualities are paramount to succeed in our Game.
      Why? Because football is a technical game. It requires players to control a ball without using hands and, for human beings, controlling a ball without using hands is not a natural ability. It must be learned. Just like hitting a golf ball, tennis ball, hockey ball, skiing is not a natural ability; it must be learned.

      By contrast, running & crashing into opponents, punching opponents when they’re not looking are not technical abilities. They’re just physical abilities and don’t require any finesse.

      2) Excel in the ALeague. Don’t just do it for 1 game, or a few games, or 1 season. Do it every game for at least 2 seasons before you move overseas

      3) Move to a club that will be coached in a way that will suit your style. Go to a club where you will play regularly. Don’t just go to a club because it’s got a global brand name.

      4) Work hard at the new club. It won’t be easy. Every player at the new club will view you as a threat. If you are in the team, it means their place is potentially at risk.

      I’m going to enjoy watching Huddersfield on Optus Sport next season.

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