A Welcome Guest – But Hopefully Not The First of Many

News that Spain’s David Villa has signed for newly named Melbourne City – Formerly Melbourne Heart- in the Hyundai A League is indeed exciting news. Villa could well be the most exciting signing since Dwight Yorke in the inaugural season. The reason being this is a player still at the top of his game.

Villa has just won the La Liga and is headed to Brazil for his third World Cup Finals. Villa has won a World Cup and a European Championship with Spain, as well as UEFA Champions League, La Liga and FIFA Club World Cup. At 32 years of age he is almost five years younger than Alessandro del Piero was when he decided to play in the A-League.

The deal has undoubtedly come about because Villa has signed for New York City a club also owned by Melbourne Heart/City’s new owners the City Football Group. A Group who also are involved with English Premier League Champions Manchester City.

There are however warning signs as there always were with a club like Manchester City buying into smaller leagues around the World. Sending players out to these lesser clubs will assist Manchester City in avoiding fines similar to GBP49million one it just received for failing to comply with the UEFA Financial Fair Play rules; GBP32million of which was suspended.

Manchester City may have plenty of financial clout behind them but they have posted combined losses of almost £149m for the past two seasons – £97m in 2012 and £51.6m in 2013. The FFA need to be on top of monitoring the financial running of Melbourne City and ensure that this club’s debts do not spiral out of control, as a withdrawal by the City Football Group could leave the league and the club in a precarious position.

Perhaps though the other big warning sign came in a comment from David Villa following the announcement of his guest stint. “It’s very good for me in every sense,” Villa is reported to have said. “From a football point of view it’s the opportunity to play in a new league in a different country, and of course it will be ideal for me to get some competitive football in the period before the MLS season gets under way.”

The last thing the A-League needs to become is a pre-season training facility for the MLS and with the City Football club owning New York City and with all due respect to Melbourne, the pulling power and marketing potential is far greater in New York than it is in Melbourne, as well as the USA against Australia.

If the FFA allows such a thing to happen, the A-League being used to keep MLS players fit, this will ultimately be more damaging in the long term than the owners withdrawal. Fans relate to players and expect players to be loyal to their club, the last thing they need is the season to start superbly thanks to a number of “Blow-ins” only to implode when they go to play in a competition they feel is of a higher standard.

Having David Villa coming to play in Australia is great news and superb for fans of football in Australia. As stated he is not over the hill and will no doubt have a massive impact on and off the park, it is just his move flags other potential issues, and the game must look at its long term future and not short term fixes.

 

 

A Welcome Guest – But Hopefully Not The First of Many
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6 thoughts on “A Welcome Guest – But Hopefully Not The First of Many

  • June 6, 2014 at 12:09 pm
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    Don’t like the idea of a guest player at all, it throws the rhythm of the team out. Also it is expected that they play and chances are some local boy misses out because of the superstar. They should sign for the season or not at all.

  • June 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm
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    Thanks again Neil. Yes I am not sure it will become a regular thing but we do not want the A-League used for such purposes by any other league.

    As you say great a player of the quality of Villa being here. I have to say far more excited about him than I was with del Piero, as he still has life in his legs.

  • June 5, 2014 at 4:15 pm
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    If an MLS club was signing a player at the end of the European season the player would go straight to them. The summer window for MLS is purposely set up to coincide with the end of the European season. The A-League not starting until October is also a factor as there would be no competitive games to send the player to until October, whereas MLS has a reserve league that offers competitive football. NYCFC has none of that though, hence Villa needing to go abroad.

    While there is some argument for a player joining in January, that is preseason for MLS clubs. Instances of players moving abroad at that time are few and far between (Beckham to Milan, Dempsey back to Fulham, Donovan to Everton).

    I agree that the A-League shouldn’t be used as a babysitting facility but I don’t see these moves becoming regular enough to worry about. Take it for what it is – the opportunity to have a quality player in our league.

  • June 5, 2014 at 2:43 pm
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    Neil, Thanks for your comment but I am afraid I disagree. An MLS club could sign a player at the end of the European season and then loan him to an A-League club and have him in the USA for the start of the following MLS season.

    Or they could sign in the January transfer window and send to Australia for 10 games and then take to the USA. So it is still possible. Games are always better than laps on a training ground and they would rather have their assets playing and staying match fit.

    All White – I have to agree re the A-League players at the World Cup. Be interesting to see how many get games. Not the place to be “developing” players in my opinion, and this is simply a smokescreen for not having the players required to compete at that level.

  • June 5, 2014 at 2:35 pm
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    An important point to note with regard to “the A-League being used to keep MLS players fit”, it won’t happen. MLS runs from March to December, overlapping with the A-League. This signing is an exception, not the norm, simply because NYCFC are not involved in the 2014 MLS season.

    If they were, there would be no David Villa at Melbourne City.

  • June 5, 2014 at 2:16 pm
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    Guaranteed the FFA will not have thought of either of these very real issues. Whether the A-League is a second rate league will be determined by the performances of the A-League players at the World Cup. The fact that a third of our squad are from the A-League shows how far Australian football has fallen. Villa should rip A-League defences apart as most central defenders in the league are extremely slow.

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