Melbourne Victory are on the hunt for their third manager in two seasons after Grant Brebner departed the club following the 7-0 derby loss on the weekend to Melbourne City.
Shortly after, Tony Popovic was given an ultimatum to either take the task of rebuilding the Victory by Tuesday or the club would look elsewhere for Their next manager. He didn’t answer the call.
If the Victory are true to their word and look elsewhere, they should look no further than current Wellington Phoenix manager Ufuk Talay.
Talay turned down the Victory job last year, opting instead to build on the success he achieved with the Phoenix and not leave the role after just one season.
But with his contract set to expire with his current employer at the end of this season, Talay will have no strings attached this time around, and the club need to do everything in their power to sign him.
Tasked with an arduous rebuild, with the club rooted to the bottom of the table and more than ten players contracts set to expire, Talay has a big job ahead.
However, it’s a task which he revelled in at the Phoenix.
During the winter of 2019, the Phoenix lost key players Andrew Durante, Filip Kurto, Roy Krishna and Sarpeet Singh, in addition to an array of role players. With a great eye for talent, Talay brought in young talents Callum McCowatt, Cameron Devlin and Reno Piscopo, and foreign experienced players David Ball, Gary Hooper and Ulises Davila.
All flourished under Talay’s tutelage.
Talay’s side play an attractive style of attacking football and while the young squad started slowly, they finished last season third on the table before their finals exit.
This season the side were forced to be based out of NSW due to COVID restrictions but again found form, despite a slow start, sitting just four points outside of the top six with a game in hand.
Melbourne, on the flipside, in the same time period saw little development of young Australian talent in their squad, and foreign marquee signings in recent seasons have largely underperformed. After finishing tenth last season, they look set to finish at the bottom of the table this season.
The Victory need a manager who knows how to get the best out of a young squad and can eye out hidden-gem foreigners.
Talay has the proven skillsets to rise to a challenge and should be put in charge for the rebuild.