Should I stay or should I go now, is the line made famous by the band The Clash, but it is a line that must be running through the mind of many a Footballer around the country as the January transfer window opens. The biggest problem of course with the Hyundai A League is that you cannot sell players to each other, you can only exchange players, which means that some players whom clubs have invested in heavily in terms of salaries must be released at a loss to try and simply save the salary bill.
Perth Glory had four first teamers play for the Youth team at the weekend, and all four flew back to Perth rather than staying on with the first team in Brisbane to prepare for this weekend’s fixture with the Brisbane Roar. One had to feel for striker Branko Jelic, who showed clinical finishing to notch a hat-trick, albeit on the losing side; after all what more does he need to do to try and force his way back into the first team squad. What made it all the more baffling was when news that Anthony Skorich had had to be isolated at the team hotel after picking up a virus, filtered through.
Other players not required were Brent Griffiths, Michael Baird and Andrijia Jukic and one would have to say that if any offers came in from other clubs they would be fools not take the opportunity. If it meant them getting the chance to be in the shop window at a club until the end of the season, then they should take that opportunity, as they are obviously no longer required at Perth Glory.
Michael Baird is not likely to appear in the first team again due to a clause in his contract that says if he plays a set number of games he gets to decide if he stays at the club or leaves. His dropping to the Youth League letting him know how the club feels.
Andrijia Jukic, is according to Robbie Fowler one of the most skilful players at the club, yet he has failed to translate that unbelievable skill into consistent performances. At the start of the season with Fowler playing in the hole, he was the obvious player to slot in when Fowler was substituted, except the coaching staff left Fowler on the park regularly for the full 90 minutes. Under Ian Ferguson he no longer has a role in the way the team lines up, and would be best to explore pastures new. The sad thing is he now looks a player low on confidence. He undoubtedly has the ability to be a great signing if someone can re-invigorate him, however he still needs to learn the time to use his tricks in a game so that they are most effective. Over use can cough up possession cheaply and put his team under pressure.
Brent Griffiths stepped up when given the chance and showed that if he keeps things simple he can do job, but the two red cards may make some coaches err on the side of caution before offering his career an A League lifeline.
All three are out of contract at the end of the season, so have nothing to lose with a move. Branko Jelic on the other hand has another year on his contract to run, but one can’t help feeling he could give some club the goals they need to secure a finals berth. As he certainly knows how to find the back of the net.
Of course if these players do move on, then the Glory need to find players to come in and replace them. Last season Dave Mitchell’s signing of Daniel McBreen and Steve McGarry at this point in the season was inspired, and saw Glory make their first finals appearance. Can they repeat the feat this year?