After a dismal finish last season, Melbourne Heart will be looking to push for a finals berth this time round.
Heart have made some key additions to their squad for the upcoming season with some key signings, Harry Kewell being the most high profile one.
Kewell signing for Melbourne Heart could turn out to be a good deal for both parties. Heart have lacked a player with Kewell’s skills and experience and Kewell himself targeting a World Cup spot. Kewell has also been made club captain for the upcoming season after an impressive pre-season.
Melbourne Heart also signed Orlando Engelaar as the marquee player for the 2013/14 season. Engelaar was a member of the 2008 Netherland’s European Championship squad and has played for the likes of FC Twente, FC Schalke and most recently PSV Eindhoven.
Unfortunately for Heart, they have lost the Dutchman for an extended period after he suffered a suspected leg fracture in a pre-season friendly against fellow A-League club, Brisbane Roar.
Engelaar may only play a small part this season, but his leadership and experience will be a good addition to the Heart dressing room.
Andrea Migliorini the 25-year-old Italian has signed on a three-month contract as an injury-replacement player for Orlando Engelaar.
Migliorini joins most recent signing and Maltese captain Michael Mifsud as well as other off season recruits Iain Ramsay, Tando Velaphi, Massimo Murdocca, Robbie Wielaert and the returning Aziz Behich.
Former Socceroo defender Patrick Kisnorbo has also signed for the club on a one-year deal. Kisnorbo will bring much needed experience to the very youthful Heart defence. The ex-Leeds United and Leicester City player returns home to Melbourne after spending 10 years abroad.
Melbourne Heart have also been through a major cleanout of last season’s squad, releasing a number of key players. The likes of captain Fred, Josip Tadic, Simon Colosimo, Matt Thompson, goalkeeper Clint Bolton and most recently Richard Garcia,who has joined rivals Sydney FC, have all left.
If Melbourne Heart can keep the key players injury-free for the majority of the season they will definitely be a big chance of finals football.
Being one of the busiest teams in the off season, it is obvious that coach John Aloisi has decided to put a lot of faith in the new personnel.
Melbourne Heart’s pre season has not been the best but they have shown glimpses of major improvement.
The pace of Mate Dugandzic and new signing Iain Ramsay on the wings will cause defences across the A-League many problems.
Last season’s top scorers for Melbourne Heart only managed a total of 6 goals. Now with more attacking options such as Kewell and Mifsud, Aloisi can focus on getting more goals which they lacked last season.
The additions of Kisnorbo and Behich, means the Heart defence should only improve.
With a number of high profile signings, the pressure is on John Aloisi to meet the expectations of the fans and push for a top six finish.
Jeremy Walker- Melbourne Heart Youth (1 year contract)
Sam Mitchinson- Melbourne Heart Youth (1 year contract)
Stefan Mauk- Melbourne Heart Youth (1 year contract)
Iain Ramsay- Adelaide United (1 year contract)
Massimo Murdocca- Brisbane Roar (2 year contract)
Harry Kewell- Free Agent (1 year contract)
Rob Wielaert- Roda JC Kerkrade (1 year contract)
Aziz Behich- Bursaspor (Season loan)
Tando Velaphi- Melbourne Victory (1 year contract)
Orlando Engelaar- PSV Eindhoven (1 year contract)
Patrick Kisnorbo- Free Agent (1 year contract)
Michael Mifsud- Free Agent (1 year contract)
Andrea Migliorini- Free Agent (3 month injury replacement)
Vince Grella- Retired
Steven Gray- Released
Matt Thompson- Released
Clint Bolton- Retired
Simon Colosimo- signed for Dempo (India)
Cameron Edwards- signed for Perth Glory
Jamie Coyne- Released
Marcel Meeuwis- signed for FC Eindhoven
Josip Tadic- signed for HNK Rijeka
Eli Babalj- transferred to AZ Alkmaar
Richard Garcia- signed for Sydney FC