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Fowler or Castro? That's a no-brainer

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Expert
23rd April, 2019
54

Not even the 4300 kilometres separating Brisbane and Perth could adequately describe the disparity in interest between the Roar’s signing of Robbie Fowler and the Glory’s re-signing of Diego Castro.

One signing feels like a stab in the dark – a speculative punt forward in the hope the striker might avoid his defenders and find the back in the net.

The other is a much more calculated piece of business – the carefully considered pass through the eye of the needle to set up the perfect scoring opportunity.

Of course Fowler, a Liverpool legend and one of the A-League’s biggest-name foreign marquees, stole A-League headlines yesterday following his appointment as the Roar’s new head coach.

It is a curious move. Fowler has the badges, sure, but has shown no serious application of them in a professional sense.

New Roar coach Robbie Fowler.

Robbie Fowler (Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

He takes on an unenviable task. Brisbane have one of the most unimpressive squads in recent memory.

Ange Postecoglou and his all-conquering sides of the 2010-13 are a distant memory, and the former Socceroos boss continues to cast a long shadow over Suncorp Stadium.

With no real understanding of his style or philosophy and an old, tired squad to work with, Fowler’s preseason will surely be an interesting one to follow.

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In his defence, Fowler is well-versed in the A-League, having spent two seasons here as a player with the now-defunct North Queensland Fury and then the Perth Glory.

He will have a grasp of the peculiar rules and regulations which govern A-League squads and transfers, while his standing in the game overseas may well open up some interesting possibilities in terms of marquee and foreign signings.

But even if Fowler is ‘god’ to the Kop, his recruitment pales in significance compared to Glory’s re-signing of Castro.

While the Roar deal is more a speculative strategy as they begin to prepare for the new season, Perth and Tony Popovic are building on more solid foundations before their season is even finished.

Diego Castro

(AAP Image/Tony McDonough)

The little Spaniard has been a revelation since arriving on the west coast from Getafe in La Liga back in 2015.

He has consistently been one of the A-League’s best players, and his exceptional performances for the Glory this season were duly rewarded with a two-year contract on the same day Fowler was unveiled in Brisbane.

Even at 36 years old, extending the Spanish magician’s stay in Perth was a no-brainer for Tony Popovic and the Glory.

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Despite scoring just two goals this season, the Spanish marquee has been central to Popovic’s winning machine and could yet play a vital role in helping the Glory secure their first A-League championship.

While many felt this season would be Castro’s last in Australia and perhaps his last as a professional footballer, he has been reinvigorated by it.

Accompanied by the signing of former Melbourne City marquee Bruno Fornaroli and a number of other key re-signings, Popovic has shown a keen eye for the future despite the potential spoils of victory ahead of them this season.

Fowler will continue to steal the headlines, but it’s the likes of Castro who will truly make a tangible impact on Australian football.