John van’t Schip looks at Socceroos stars Tim Cahill, Mark Bresciano and Josh Kennedy in bid to boost Melbourne City
In its new, cashed-up ambitious guise, no one can accuse the Manchester City-owned Melbourne City of not thinking big.
Having signed Spanish World Cup winner David Villa on a guest stint and been thwarted by FFA rulings in their efforts to bring in Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, City has turned its attention to Australian marquee players.
And it is now looking at some of the biggest names of all, including Socceroo talisman Tim Cahill, who signed a 3½-year contract with his Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls in mid 2012.
Also on City’s radar is Socceroo midfielder Mark Bresciano, who has long been touted as a potential signing for the Latrobe University-based club, while international striker Josh Kennedy is another name who has, in the past, been linked with City.
The club is looking to shore up its position should Villa not return from his brief guest stint period after he returns to New York at the end of the month and coach John van’t Schip says there are a number of possibilities.
Crucially, he confirmed that the club hoped to make an announcement soon.
“We have still that spot left for an Australian marquee. We will look around and try to get someone who can score goals. We have time to think about it. It’s not only that we are thinking about it just right now. We are planning and hopefully we can announce something in the coming weeks.”
Asked whether the likes of Bresciano and Cahill were under consideration, van’t Schip confirmed that they had been discussed.
“We are looking at a lot of options. Mark is one of the players who we have had in here training with us last year. We were talking with him to get him in, but that moment it was not possible. In football things change, it could be a possibility.
“They (potential signings) are all players who can add something to the team. Looking at Tim, what he is doing at this moment with the national team, everyone can see. He is at the end of his career, but he is still fit and adding a lot of value, he’s a player we talk about as well.”
Cahill and Bresciano – who has been playing in Qatar with Al-Gharafa – will both be in Australia in January to play for the Socceroos in the Asian Cup. Kennedy’s contract with Nagoya Grampus ends in December, and he has long been rumoured to be a City target.
Ahead of the derby, van’t Schip said the fact that this was the first in a new era under the English Premier League champion’s ownership made little difference.
“Every game is important and the game against Victory is, of course, special. We all know that in the past those games have brought a lot of extra publicity … it’s the same, the only thing that has changed is that we have new owners and a change of name. But all the other things stay the same.”
He agreed that high-pressure matches such as this one – an Etihad sell-out – put a premium on experience, but also added that young players have in the past really made an impact in derbies, particularly in the Melbourne Heart days.
“Experienced players, they have to take the responsibility, but on the other hand you often see younger players stepping up,” he said.
“Look to the past derbies we played, we threw in players who played their first game, Aziz Behich, Craig Goodwin, even Ross Archibald came in, and Curtis Good played in the derby. They step up and show they are able to play big games as well. It (this game) could be young players rising to the occasion.”