With only two weeks remaining in the January Transfer Window, Tony Popovic is quickly running out of time to silence his critics with some much needed signings. So far the Wanderer’s transfer window, which was seen by many as a chance to salvage a dying season, has been underwhelming at best. If Popa can’t make good in these last two weeks and prove that he is capable when it comes to recruitment, the fans and Club may have no choice but to question if he is the right man going forward.
Leading in to the transfer window it was clear the Wanderers needed big signings in at least three areas. Those were a proven Striker, a reliable Keeper and some reinforcements to stabilise the backline (preferably a Centre Back). There were also rumours and expectations that a big name striker was already in talks with the Wanderers and would be announced at the beginning of January.
More than half the window has come and gone and so far we have only seen two signings, being Terry Antonis (midfielder) and Vedran Janjetovic (goalkeeper); although this was a done deal months ago as a swap with Sydney FC for Andrew Redmayne. We are yet to see Antonis play and it is difficult at the moment to gauge the need for this signing; but a handy pickup in any case.
Vedran Janjetovic has already proven a fantastic signing, starring in both the 1-0 loss to Melbourne City and the 0-0 draw in the Sydney Derby, bagging the Wanderer’s first clean sheet of the season. However, this begs the question as to why it was left until January to sign a reliable goalkeeper. This should have been done well before the start of the season as it was clear from the previous season that one was needed.
So with the transfer window almost over, Popa has made only one of the three required signings and it was one that shouldn’t have had to be made. The most crucial signing that still hasn’t been made is a proven striker. Every game, without fail, we are left cursing “if only we had someone up front to finish these chances…” It is the missing piece in our puzzle and could be the difference between a terrible season and silverware.
However, so far there has been no indication that a striker is coming. In fact, it seems less and less likely every day. The only rumoured striker that hasn’t already been dismissed is the possibility of luring former Socceroo striker Scott McDonald from Scotland. However, this seems a bit of a pipe dream at this point, with no solid link. To make matters worse, the Wanderers have already released out of form striker Kerem Bulut, who while not performing was still a better option than youth players. The recent form of our attacking options proves that a player should never be released without a replacement lined up, particularly in such a crucial role.
This leaves us with a disappointing transfer window and a bleak outlook for the rest of the season and the Asian Champions League campaign. In a competition like the A-League with salary caps and tight squad restrictions, you need to have your recruitment right to counter the high turn-over of players. If Popa can’t turn things around quickly in this closing window, it may be the door for him.
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