Friday, August 03, 2007
And a fine one he is. Juninho (Paulista) was always one of my favourite players during his Middlesbrough days; short of stature but calm and elegant on the ball, and with an unfailing eye for a clever through pass. Aussie Stadium's patrons can look forward to plenty of entertainment from him this season, I feel.
The other main marquee target for George Perry was John Aloisi, but his apparent desire for a three-year contract scuppered the attempts to secure his signature. The Phillip Cocu "interest" evaporated fairly quickly.
Perhaps the only concern about the acquisition of Juninho is that Steve Corica may end up being forced out to the flanks again, due to the Brazilian's presence. Although (if I remember rightly) Juninho did occasionally play up front for Boro, he gave his most influential performances in the playmaker role, and he is surely likely to occupy the space behind the striker(s) in Branko Culina's team. One of Culina's comments about Juninho's signing did set some alarm bells ringing in my head:
When asked which position Juninho would play on once the season kicked off, Culina quipped: "Wherever he wants to play."
Shades of Pierre Littbarski and Dwight Yorke. However, this is probably just a case of Culina playing his cards close to his chest; Juninho will almost certainly be used as a three-quarter man.
The signing of Adam Biddle is an interesting one. The Blacktown City winger has impressed me greatly this season: he is fast, tricky, and confident beyond his years. Definitely one of the better young players in the NSWPL.
Sydney FC still look a bit light in the striker department (Ben Vidaic, though promising, is unproven, and Brendan Santalab has apparently looked somewhat unimpressive in the warm-up games), and the lack of cover in the full-back positions is glaring. But there is enough talent in the squad to give the league another fair shake, in my view.
Juninho should be a good buy. whether Sydney has the firepower to take advantage of him is a moot point.
IMO Sydney still looks fragile though, a few injuries or if the Marquee doesn't prefor to expectations and IMO you will be in serious trouble.
Just about every other team has made a better job than Sydney with recruitment. There will be no easy games this season.