Five Aussies abroad that need to move immediately
With the 2021/22 season coming to a close, we look at five Socceroo internationals based overseas that should move away from their respective clubs for consistent game time.
Ultimately, every national team player should play regularly for their respective clubs. Consistent minutes at club football leads to greater fitness levels and stronger performances for the national team. Players don't need to play in the best leagues to be successful. But regular game time is one of the most critical aspects of national team performances.
FPF reflects on five Socceroos based overseas who should move away from their respective clubs in the off-season:
Arguably Australia's most technically gifted player, Ajdin Hrustic is a gem that needs to play more often.
He's got the creativity and potential to dictate games. He can dribble, cross, and provide fantastic service from set pieces. Let's not forget those freekicks against Kuwait and Japan in AFC World Cup qualifying, either.
His time at Eintracht Frankfurt has been mixed. While he was in the UEFA Europa League Final squad, Hrustic only started for Die Adler nine times in the Bundesliga. He mainly covered squad injuries or played when Oliver Glasner rested first-choice players featured in the Europa League. Hrustic only scored twice this season and averaged just over 40 minutes per match in 23 games. As a critical player for the Socceroos, he cannot afford to waste his potential by playing less than half a game in the Bundesliga.
A move to a Bundesliga team such as Stuttgart or Augsburg would be ideal, even to a newly promoted side like Schalke. A move back to the Netherlands to Feyenoord Rotterdam would be another avenue for Ajdin due to his playing history. Meanwhile, Danish giants Brøndby are another option. Ideally, a club in Western Europe or Scandinavia should be his next destination.
Teams he should consider: VfB Stuttgart (Germany), FC Augsburg (Germany), FC Schalke 04 (Germany), Feyenoord Rotterdam (Netherlands), and Brøndby IF (Denmark).
A goalkeeper that has helped Australia significantly during Graham Arnold's tenure, it's fair to say Mat Ryan is wasting his time with Real Sociedad.
Ryan has been an influential figure for the Socceroos since Mark Schwarzer's retirement. He has a strong playing resume, featuring for Club Brugge, Valencia, Genk, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Arsenal.
At first, the move to the Basque Country looked promising; however one man stood in the way of the Socceroos captain from starting. That was Sociedad's number one goalkeeper Álex Remiro. Ryan has only played nine games during the Spanish football season across the La Liga, Europa League, and Copa del Rey.
Despite little game time in Spain, there is no doubt Ryan has the quality to pursue an opportunity at the highest level.
Ryan should join a side in Spain such as Elche or Eibar. Should he opt to go back to England, a top end Championship side like West Brom, or maybe a Premier League club like Brentford, is recommended. Ryan has a small but helpful proficiency in Spanish, so the language barrier shouldn't be an issue should he want to remain in Spain.
Teams he should consider: West Bromwich Albion (England), Brentford (England), Elche CF (Spain), and Eibar (Spain).
Early during the 2021/22 season, Awer Mabil looked like he solidified a starting position at FC Midtjylland. His goal against Celtic eliminated Ange Postecoglou's men from the Champions League; he scored a few goals in Danish competitions and notched up some assists.
However, later during the season, he was frozen out.
A loan move to Turkish Süper Lig side Kasımpaşa to get more game time looked promising, but he has only averaged 35 minutes in 11 games. Mabil needs to return to Jutland but should leave Midtjylland.
Australian fans know that Mabil is an exciting winger who uses his pace to bypass defenders. He is a threat down the wing and loves to cut back inside whilst taking on defenders in one-on-one situations.
Either Awer stays in Denmark to join a side like Randers FC or moves southwest to the Eredivisie and signs for a team like Sparta Rotterdam or Go Ahead Eagles. The Belgian Pro League is also an excellent environment for rapid wingers to flourish. A move to a side like Sint-Truiden would suit him.
There have been strong rumours linking Mabil to a move to Spain, though, and perhaps he has already decided on his new club for next season.
Teams he should consider: Randers FC (Denmark), Sparta Rotterdam (Netherlands), Go Ahead Eagles (Netherlands), and Sint-Truiden (Belgium).
One of Australia's most technically gifted midfielders, Aaron Mooy, needs to leave China immediately for the Socceroos and his playing career.
It's fair to say Mooy's move from Brighton and Hove Albion to Shanghai Port has been disappointing.
He featured for Shanghai Port in the 2020 Asian Champions League. But it says a lot now that Chinese clubs are sending their U20s to play in Asia's premier football competition. Financially, the Chinese Super League has crumbled. Numerous clubs have gone broke, and the economic situation in China is volatile from a sporting perspective. The clubs' identities have changed, sponsors are falling, and foreigners are leaving in drones, along with naturalised Chinese players such as Elkeson and Alan.
Mooy's situation is challenging. Does he want to continue playing in a crumbling league while earning a lot of money, or does he want to return to a competitive environment?
A return to Melbourne City wouldn't be a bad option for the 31-year old. If he is going to test himself in Europe again, Mooy should return to Scotland and join a side such as Hearts. Should Mooy want to remain somewhere in Asia, the J-League and its highly technical football environment would be a perfect fit.
Teams he should consider: Melbourne City (Australia), Hearts (Scotland), and Sanfrecce Hiroshima (Japan).
Right-back is a position where Australia does not have much backup compared to left-back or in midfield. A reliable right-back playing regular minutes is needed for the national team, meaning Fran Karačić has no option but to leave Brescia.
Karačić only featured 17 times from 38 games for Brescia Calcio this season, averaging 40.7 minutes per game. The 26-year old only started six times, with no goals or assists either.
Karačić loves to burst forward and provide an attacking outlet. But sometimes, he can have lapses of concentration, which was evident against China in World Cup qualifying.
A loan move will be ideal for Karacic to get more playing time elsewhere. Due to his Croatian heritage, a move to a side in the Croatian first tier would be suitable due to very few cultural obstacles. Or he can remain in Italy and play in the Serie B for a side such as SPAL. Serie B is still fiercely competitive and demanding so the football environment would be perfect for regular minutes.
Tom Rogic has left Celtic on a free, and it presents a golden opportunity for a club to acquire his skills for no transfer fee.
Rogic has been an influential figure for Celtic as his nine-year stay in Glasgow concludes. His goals have been sublime, and he has featured in European competitions several times, even scoring a goal at the San Siro. All good things must come to an end, though. However, for Rogic, there is ample opportunity for a new good thing to start again.
There is no doubt there are several clubs worldwide looking to sign Rogic. He's capable of controlling the midfield whilst distributing the ball in tight areas. He also has a fantastic shot on him and great composure on the ball.
Rogic has firmly shut the door on a return to Australia from all that is known.
A Championship club like QPR or Blackburn Rovers is recommended. Rogic has experience in a very physical and demanding environment in Scotland, and the Championship matches that. With Rogic having Serbian roots, a move to Serbian giants Crvena zvezda would be a fantastic opportunity for Rogic to explore, as they consistently compete in European competitions.
Unfortunately, there is a big chance that Rogic will join a club based in the Middle East, such as Qatar or Saudi Arabia. It would not be terrible, but it would be nicer to see Rogic playing in a more competitive and demanding environment.
Teams he should consider: QPR (England), Blackburn Rovers (England), Hearts (Scotland), and Crvena zvezda (Serbia).