Why Adelaide must do all they can to keep Tomi Juric
Yesterday, Australian freelance football journalist John Davidson broke the news that Adelaide United is "facing an uphill battle" to keep striker Tomi Juric.
Davidson mentioned that several A-League clubs are interested in the 29-year-old.
Adelaide's ex-defender Robbie Cornthwaite tweeted that Macarthur was eyeing Juric as a potential replacement for Matt Derbyshire.
The Englishman has been linked with a return to Cyprus.
Derbyshire might have outscored Juric in the 2020-21 season, and Macarthur might be getting a downgrade on what they already have.
However, the Socceroos striker is a viable option for any team in the league.
The Reds must try everything to keep hold of him for at least one more year.
Juric was a frustrating figure for Reds fans throughout the season due to either persistent injury issues or several underwhelming displays.
Manager Carl Veart seemed to echo those frustrations back in March when he suggested Juric's body "can't deal with the demands of training at the moment."
The main annoyance over Juric's continued unavailability from United's matchday squads would have been that Veart could not start the striker alongside Craig Goodwin and Ben Halloran.
Adelaide had the potential to start with a consistent front three comprising three players who have represented the Socceroos and boast European experience.
But Juric's persistent issues and a late-season ankle injury to Goodwin meant Reds fans never genuinely saw how such a talented attacking lineup would perform.
Ironically, one of Adelaide's best performances this season came when that trio all started together, and all of them scored too.
The Reds cruised past Macarthur 3-1 back in April, with Goodwin and Halloran thriving alongside Juric and showcasing Veart's pre-season dream.
Juric's importance to Adelaide isn't necessarily about his ability but how he can improve the output of others around him.
Juric celebrates after netting his first goal of the season against Melbourne City in January. (Getty Images)
It's not like the striker had that bad a season in front of goal anyway.
Given he only featured 18 times (including the finals), Juric netted nine goals in total for the season, working out to be an average of one goal every two games.
Had he been fit all season and started all 28 of the games Adelaide played, that would mean a projection of 14 goals.
That figure would have put him equal second with Derbyshire in the Golden Boot standings.
Of course, hindsight is a beautiful thing.
Still, Juric inevitably would have surpassed double digits had he been fit for more games.
United fans have been crying out for a striker that can regularly hit 10-15 goals each season almost since their inception into the competition.
In Juric, they have one who is the closest thing they've ever had to that, and if they keep hold of him for next season, then his numbers are only going to get better.