Photo by Simon Overall (c) 2008
Aloisi, Bridge, Colosimo, it’s been an interesting week for Sydney FC, three high profile signings announced on Monday (3rd March), all of whom have much to recommend them, but also a few concerns for followers of the club’s fortunes. I want to take a look at each player, what they’ll bring, and how that balances out against the issues and concerns that have been raised about each of them. John Aloisi, Mark Bridge and Simon Colossimo were unveiled at a press conference at SFS where Chairman Andrew Kemeney made it clear that this was the beginning of a rebuilding process, not the end.
Player by player after the jump.
John Aloisi is easily the best known of the three both to football fanatics and the general public, he has signed as Sydney FC’s marquee player for a reported $1.4 million a year for two years. Aloisi, as if you need to be reminded, scored ‘that’ penalty against Uruguay to put the Socceroos into the 2006 world cup. On the positive side he brings a goal poachers instinct, a more powerful physical presence up front, a priceless public profile and significant overseas experience from Belgium, Italy, England and Spain, and the confidence that comes with it.
On the downside, he’s injury prone, his knees especially seem to have troubled him for some time, he’s picking up a reputation for being a whinger, spending a lot of time up close and personal with A-League refs after being treated like everyone else on the pitch, and the $1.4 million price tag, which is both consistently reported, and as yet unconfirmed, is making a lot of Sydney fans question whether he could possibly be worth such a sum if the likes of Juninho and Robbie Fowler reportedly were not. My own, unfounded, suspicion is that the $1.4 million contains a significant element of incentives, $400,000 or more, that would make more sense.
Aloisi, for me, brings far more positives than negatives, his whingeing could, I suppose, be put down to not being used to the rough and tumble nature of the A-League, where a degree of physical play is allowed that would never be tolerated in Europe. His injuries seem to be manageable, and the short, one game a week, nature of the A-League will be kind to him, and should help avoid another Juninho scenario. As for his price tag, it sounds like far too much, but its not my money and its unlikely that Lowy and Kemeney are spending as rashly as it appears, although its funny to see a regime that forced itself into power on the back of claims of unsustainable spending just 18 months ago splash out $1.4m on one player.
Mark Bridge, fresh from scoring the winning (and only) goal in the 2008 Grand Final, is more of an enigma, undeniably talented, but considered inconsistent by Newcastle Jets fans. Despite his winning goal, Gary van Egmont, highly thought of for his ability to bring out the best in his young players, never seemed to really get the most out of Bridge, perhaps Kosmina, who’s no slouch when it comes to nurturing young talent, will get better results. Bridge’s other downside is his get out of jail free clause that apparently allows him to transfer to a European team (or is it any overseas team?) without a transfer fee, should one come calling.
This clause is what allowed Sydney to snap up Bridge from Newcastle, where Con Constantine flat out refused to accept such a contract clause. Is it a good idea?, well potentially Bridge could end up not playing a game for Sydney, if he makes a good showing at the Olympics with the Olyroos and gets snapped up by a European team. I’m not convinced that such a thing is all that likely. Frankly Bridge isn’t that great a player at this point in his career, and there are plenty of players already in Europe with the same kind of potential, so I see Bridge staying with Sydney for at least one season, which given our problems scoring goals last season is worth the risk that he’ll sign up with a European team before we get some benefit from his presence in the team.
Simon Colosimo, fresh from captaining Perth Glory through a dismal third season sits neatly between these two, as a seasoned campaigner with plenty left to offer. A central midfielder, Colossimo managed to shine despite being surrounded by some of the least capable and least motivated team-mates in the league, his arrival has prompted a lot of rejoicing, especially amongst the more tactically focused Sydney fans, and for good reason, Colosimo is pretty much peerless in that position, certainly at A-League level, a strong defender and an excellent passer of the ball.
But as usual the silver lining has a cloud, Colosimo’s a bit of a wanderer, Sydney will be his 9th? Club in 11 years, and he’s gained somewhat of a reputation for being egotistical and outspoken, just this year he slated his team-mates on live TV for their lack of effort in one of Glory’s many losses. Having watched the game, I thought they deserved it, but it does suggest a lack of restraint and tact on the part of Colosimo, a trait that Kosmina is not likely to take kindly to.
Colosimo on the surface seems the most likely to succeed, with both Bridge and Aloisi having an obvious degree of risk involved, however if all three do play to their potential, Sydney FC will be a far more formidable player in the 4th Hyundai A-League.
Now, what about a fucking Left Back?