• Christian Marchetti

Adelaide finding a balance and maintaining their identity with recruitment

This week Adelaide United announced the signings of Javi Lopez and Tomi Juric, and Reds fans should commend Director of Football Bruce Djite for the club's recent recruitment.


In recent years, United have made it a priority to put their faith in their youth system and consistently give opportunities to young players.


Some of Australia's most talented footballers, such as Mathew Leckie, Awer Mabil and Riley McGree, have all benefited from Adelaide's approach.


However, Adelaide fans have previously been frustrated with the club's inability to replace these youngsters with more experienced players, who have proven quality at A-League level.


For example, following their 2015-16 Championship-winning campaign, United lost several stars including Craig Goodwin, Bruce Kamau and Pablo Sanchez.


The club did not adequately replace all of those players, and United suffered a dramatic regression by finishing ninth in the 2016-17 campaign.


Nobody could forgive Adelaide supporters for worrying that something similar was unfolding during this pre-season transfer window.


George Blackwood, Paul Izzo, Nikola Mileusnic, Kristian Opseth and the previously mentioned McGree all left for pastures new.


However, not only have these players been replaced, this time around, it seems as if Djite has struck a perfect balance as well.


Lopez has spent his entire professional career with Espanyol and became a stalwart in La Liga, the top division of professional football in Spain.


He also worked under one of the world's best managers in Mauricio Pochettino, and is very versatile, being able to play as a right-back, centre-back, and in midfield.

Getty Images


Juric is well known to Australian football fans, having represented the Socceroos 41 times.


He played a significant role in the Western Sydney Wanderers famous Asian Champions League triumph in 2014.


In recent years, he has played across Europe in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Bulgaria.


The Reds have been able to bring in two players with a wealth of experience to complement a growing list of talented youngsters.


Top prospects such as Louis D'Arrigo, Ryan Strain, Pacifique Niyongabire and the Toure brothers have all been retained.


Whilst they have been able to snatch up promising talent from other clubs too.


Defender George Timotheou has been on the books of German giants Schalke in recent years.

He has no doubt developed since his days as a Sydney FC youngster.


Meanwhile, Domenic Costanzo was the hottest young prospect in South Australia's National Premier League this season, netting a league-high 14 goals in 18 games for Croydon.

Adelaide United


The current pandemic may force A-League clubs to dip into their youth academies.


The financial fragility of Australian clubs means there is far more risk involved in bringing in foreign marquees.


United have been able to maintain their trust in youth, a significant part of their identity.


However, they have also been able to shrewdly add that touch of experience which will make them a competitive outfit during the 2020-21 season.


It is now up to the more experienced heads to lead the way, as the vast array of promising youngsters continue their development.