Sydney FC finished off a solid A league season on a sour note by being the runner up when they went down to Melbourne Victory in the A-League Grand Final. Sydney have incorporated a very fluid pass heavy style of play relying on the midfield control. Such a style is enhanced with consistent players in key roles getting comfortable alongside one another. On that note, Sydney FC will find it difficult in the following season unless Graham Arnold is able to lock up some of his off contract stars.
Off Contract Players
It seems that it will be a bitter break up between Sydney FC and Marc Janko. Janko joined FC last off season from Turkish side Trabzonspor. Janko scored 16 goals in the A-League en route to earning the Golden Boot. Janko took to twitter to announce his displeasure at being offered a contract only to have it withdrawn prior to his signing.
Message to my fans: (please read the pic) pic.twitter.com/DMZlCHnn2g
— Marc Janko (@JankoMarc) May 24, 2015
Sydney fans will undoubtedly be disappointed to see Janko leave but will hope that Graham Arnold and the Sky Blues brain trust can recruit another big name marquee player. There were rumours prior to Janko’s tweet that he was the one looking elsewhere yet the Sydney club have not come out refuting his version of events.
Bernie Ibini is possibly another Sydney starlet that is unlikely to return for the 2015-2016 version of the A-League. Ibini joined FC on loan from China’s Shanghai Dongya. He is on his final year of his deal with Shangai Dongya and many expect him to be released from his final year enabling him to sign with any team. Rumours are circulating that Newcastle are interested as well as Sydney FC hoping to regain his services.
Ibini proved to be a true weapon and one of the first names on the team sheet for Graham Arnold’s side. He is very solid going forward but also works hard tracking back and trying to create turnovers to launch Sydney’s counter attack. Ibini is also a force on the aerial ball often the target of FC goal kicks.
Ibini will turn 23 in September. Already a star of the A-League, whoever pens his signature will likely get his prime years in football.
— Sydney FC (@SydneyFC) May 8, 2015
Miloš Dimitrijević, the midfield maestro for Sydney FC is another week to week starter that is off contract this offseason. The Serbian #8 is 31 years old and has been with FC for 1.5 years. Dimitrijević took out all three of the Sydney FC voted awards following the season.
Sydney FC has offered a new contract to Dimitrijević which he is yet to sign. They hope to have him in playmaking role for the squad in 2015-2016.
Jacques Faty & Mickael Tavares
Faty and Tavares are cousins that were reunited to join Sydney FC in January 2015. They were primarily responsible for the FC resurgence which took them all the way to the Grand Final. Faty, a central defender, was forced to leave the final in the first half due to injury. Tavares a holding midfield dynamo forced Terry Antonis to the bench since his arrival. The pair have had comments indicating their desire to return to Sydney FC and not wanting to depart the club on a sour note of grand final defeat.
— France Football (@francefootball) March 6, 2015
* Jacques Faty and Mickael Tavares have both reported that they will return for the 2015-2016 season.
— FATY doudou jacques (@JacquesFaty) May 26, 2015
— Sydney FC (@SydneyFC) May 21, 2015
Matt Jurman is a strong locally developed central defender who has earned a regular place in the heart of Sydney FC’s back line. He is 25 years old and entering the prime of his career. Solid in the air and distributing from the backline, Jurman fits the Arnold profile well for a ball playing central defender.
Sydney FC have resigned Jurman for the 2015-2016 campaign on a one year contract.
— Sydney FC (@SydneyFC) May 15, 2014
A-League and New Zealand veteran striker, Smeltz, was primarily used as a impact bench player this season. As he gets into the twilight of his career at age 33, Smeltz is capable of carrying the entire load for an A-League team. Smeltz scored 8 goals in 21 appearances for the Sky Blues and plays with high energy fitting of a Graham Arnold centre forward.
FC and Smeltz announced agreement on a new 2-year contract through 2017.
— Shane Smeltz (@ShaneSmeltz) May 26, 2015
The former Socceroos centre half was named vice captain for the 2014-2015 season after arriving in the last offseason. He scored 1 goal against rivals Western Sydney Wanderers but only played 6 games in a season including a suspension and extended injury spell.
Ognenovski is doubtful to return to Sydney and will likely enter the media or coaching circles following this season.
Young striker Corey Gameiro has a lot of promise but has been hampered by injury. He was ruled out for the season after suffering a knee injury in November. Gameiro is just 22 years of age and will be expected to resign with Sydney FC in the hopes that he can return and begin to mature and experience as a footballer.
Carle is a playmaking midfielder that has had some poor luck with injuries. He had been sporadically involved in the squad when he was fit and is nearing the end of his footballing career.
In an interview with Simon Hill, Carle has indicated that retirement is on his mind but he does not want to go out due to injury. It is likely that we see him return to FC when fit or look for a move in the December window.
“Maybe had I not got injured, I would have quite happily retired at the end of this season. But the injury means I want to play for one more year. I don’t want to finish with an injury. My comeback date is October-November, in time for the December transfer window, and I want to be fit by then. If a club needs a player at that stage, then we’ll see – but ideally, I would like to play again for Sydney FC.”
Hagi Gligor – A local prospect at age 19, has represented Australia at the junior levels. Roving midfielder fits Arnold’s style and is likely to stay with the club and try to break into the first team as he matures. Has only 18 caps under his belt in 2 years with the senior team.
Peter Triantis – Another local boy, aged 23, a fellow central midfielder, Triantis has 23 caps for the Sky Blues. It is unclear whether or not he will return.
Ivan Necevski – The veteran back up to #1 keeper Vedran Janjetovic, Necevski made only 1 appearance for Sydney FC in 2014/2015 and that wasn’t even in the A-League. At 35 years of age, he will likely resign in a mentor/back up role again until he decides to retire.
Robert Stambolziev – Signed as an injury replacement for Corey Gameiro, he made just 9 appearances for the Sky Blues during his stint. It is unclear whether he has done enough to cement a new contract with Sydney FC and may be recalled in a fringe role.