The Melbourne Victory currently sit second from bottom on the A-League ladder, in a season that has been defined by inconsistency on the field, as well as some bad luck with injuries and departures.
They have not looked like the confident, consistent team of recent years.
However, with the first rebuild season almost over, players will be looking to prove themselves heading into the next campaign.
Marco Rojas still has a chance to show his worth in navy blue. While he has been decent since returning to Melbourne, he disappointed in Europe after leaving the Victory.
He joined Heerenveen in 2017, but struggled in the Eredivisie, making just three appearances before moving to the Danish Superliga for 19 games but only two goals and two assists.
With Andrew Nabbout set to join Perth Glory, it’s worth remembering the club also boasts the likes of Robbie Kruse and Elvis Kamsoba, although the latter is off-contract at the end of the season.
This underlies the squad depth heading into next season.
|Goalkeeper||Lawrence Thomas*, Matt Acton*, Brendan White, Matthew Sutton|
|Left back||Adama Traore*, Leigh Broxham|
|Centre back||James Donachie, Tim Hoogland*, Giancarlo Gallifuoco*, Ben Carrigan, Leigh Broxham|
|Right back||Giancarlo Gallifuoco*, Leigh Broxham, Storm Roux*, Anthony Lesiotis*|
|Centre midfield/defensive midfield||Migjen Basha*, Anthony Lesiotis*, Jay Barnett|
|Attacking midfield||Elvis Kamsoba*, Josh Hope*, Jakob Poulsen*|
|Winger||Robbie Kruse, Marco Rojas, Andrew Nabbout*|
|Striker||Ola Toivonen*, Kenny Athiu*|
This table shows the planning of smart squad depth this season. Furthermore, you can see that multiple players pop up in multiple categories. Leigh Broxham, Giancarlo Gallifuoco and Anthony Lesiotis are all utility players due to their ability to play multiple positions, allowing for changes to the side regularly.
However, while this table shows a high level of squad depth, the Melbourne Victory must retain some of their players. Players like Gallifuoco and Lesiotis would be good re-signings, as they are utility players who can play multiple positions on the field, while Lawrence Thomas and Migjen Basha are key re-signings.
While it may not be optimal to have this many players off-contract, it could be exactly what Melbourne Victory need right now. Players like Kenny Athiu, who aren’t A-League standard, can be shipped out and free up space in the salary cap.
This will allow for the next head coach of Melbourne Victory, whether that is Carlos Salvachua or another coach, to rebuild the team the way they want it built.
Next season, the Melbourne Victory will have space in the salary cap, plus multiple import and marquee spots to work with.
With Ola Toivonen set to leave after the expiration of his contract, a marquee spot will open up for Melbourne Victory.
As shown in the table above, the Melbourne Victory are out of options in attacking midfield and upfront, with Elvis Kamsoba’s rumoured move to Macarthur leaving only the off-contract Josh Hope and Jakob Poulsen in the playmaking position.
Despite just having one marquee position, with Robbie Kruse filling the other spot, they also will have two to four import positions open up, with Toivonen and Poulsen almost certain to leave and Tim Hoogland and Migjen Basha also off-contract.
If the Melbourne Victory can retain key members of their squad and intelligently bring in foreigners in attacking midfield and up front, then we could see a reinvigorated navy blue side next season.
But will this be enough for the Melbourne Victory to return to their winning ways this season?