Football 1 year ago

Tough to lure players to A-League: Muscat

  • Tough to lure players to A-League: Muscat

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 11: Coach Kevin Muscat speaks to the media during a Melbourne Victory A-League press conference at AAMI Park on July 11, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The A-League might continue to take great strides on field, but it's getting tougher to bring talent to Australia.

Emerging leagues in South-East Asia, the runaway growth of the Chinese Super League and upturn in finances in Europe are giving A-League coaches headaches as they look to build their squads for the season ahead.

Victory's Alan Baro and Western Sydney trio Bruno Pinatares, Jumpei Kusukami and Aritz Borda are among the few players to trade senior football in overseas leagues for the A-League this off-season.

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Victory coach Kevin Muscat said he's found it harder to lure players with the rise of other Asian leagues.

"Don't worry about (attracting players from) Korea because they've always paid more than us, they don't have a salary cap," he told AAP.

"They've been left behind by the Japanese. And now China.

"Now all of a sudden, we've started losing players to Malaysia and Thailand. We lose targets to there and A-League players go there."

Online database OzFootball shows a growing contingent of local players playing in South-East Asia, with Muscat blown away by the wages on offer.

Muscat said he had spent time in Spain and Europe during the season break scouting the marketplace.

"I spent a week in Madrid because I really wanted to understand the Spanish market," he said.

"They've just signed a new TV rights deal for the (second-tier competition) Segunda that will treble their incomes. So we've got to start looking for the next market."

The answer for Muscat is to "pitch on lifestyle".

"It is a huge positive because it's a great city and a great country," he said.

"It's an expensive place but it is a beautiful place.

"Trying to find players at a younger age is difficult because they want to stay in Europe if they can.

"But there is supply. So we will get players."

Muscat is searching for offensive-minded players to complete his squad, with the departure of Danny Vukovic meaning he also needs another senior goalkeeper.

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