Despite Aaron Mooy’s best efforts last night, Melbourne City surrendered a two-goal lead against Newcastle Jets to lose 3-2. Melbourne now have just 4 points from 4 games, perhaps a pre-cursor for another average A-League season.
With Aaron Mooy streets ahead of his teammates (and most of the A-League), echoes of a move overseas are rife in the City dressing room.
The Premier League is an ambitious target for the magnificent midfielder, so here’s some examples of why Mooy should (and equally shouldn’t) move to the Premier League.
Luke Brattan – Manchester City (Bolton loan)
Having not played a game in England yet, it’s too early to tell if Brattan will be the next Australian success story. The former Brisbane Roar midfielder walked out on the club following issues with payment, and opened the door to any willing takers.
Given Brisbane’s tumultuous season in 2014/15, Brattan was the tape over the cracks, often single-handedly controlling the midfield. Brattan’s vision and ability to dispatch passes all over the park impressed many, including Brendan Rodgers during a friendly match between Liverpool and the Roar.
Brattan’s career is still yet to fully flourish and his success will probably depend on whether he cornrows his hair again or not, but what Luke Brattan has done has paved a pathway for other A-League stars to transition to Premier League.
Massimo Luongo – QPR
Our Asian Cup hero has had a spectacular 2015 and continues to cement himself as a future household-name Socceroo. Massimo Luongo was named player of the tournament in the 2015 Asian Cup and has been shortlisted for the Ballon D’Or. Playing at Swindon Town at the time of the Asian Cup, Luongo attracted interest from higher leagues, including (former) Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood.
The 23 year-old began his professional career in England with Tottenham Hotspur in 2011, but only made one first XI appearance in a League Cup fixture. This may have influenced his decision to move to Championship boomerangs, Queens Park Rangers in the 2015 off-season, instead of the more elusive Premier League Clubs.
While he is yet to score at his new club, Luongo has registered 3 assists in 13 appearances for QPR and looks to have settled into the midfield nicely. Currently sitting 11th and 10 points behind league leaders Brighton Hove and Albion, Massimo and his teammates will have to improve if they want to taste Premier League football next season.
This is an interesting one. If you’d asked me 12 months ago, I would have told you Mile Jedinak is the benchmark for Australian’s pursuing success overseas. Captaining club and country as an integral cog in the heart of midfield, Jedinak was a superstar. Fifth best player in Europe and Asian International Player of the Year both in 2014, Mile’s achievements and milestones were flowing at a constant speed.
Then they stopped.
Jedinak was forced to choose between leading the Socceroos to their maiden Asian Cup or help navigate Crystal Palace through a sticky post-Christmas fixture list at the beginning of 2015 (which infuriates me, by the way, as a massive disadvantage to Australian footballers, but I might get to that in another article).
The national side took priority, leaving Crystal Palace to adapt to life without Jedinak. The issue is that Palace did exactly that, maybe a little too effectively.
The arrival of Yohann Cabaye in July this year was the nail in Jedinak’s coffin. A player who in the 2014/15 season averaged 84 minutes a game in 24 league appearances now averages just 15 minutes in 5 caps. Aged 31, Jedinak may be starting to experience his career wind down before his eyes, but we know he still has plenty to offer. I still believe he is the benchmark for Aussies striving for careers in England.
Jason Davidson – WBA
Following in his father’s footsteps, Jason Davidson seems to divide opinion in Australia. Playing in the notorious left-fullback position, Davidson has always had to tussle for his place in the Socceroos line-up with David Carney, Michael Zullo and more recently, Aziz Behich. Impressing during the 2014 World Cup campaign, Davidson made the move from Dutch Club Heracles Almelo to West Bromwich Albion to further stake his claim as Australia’s first choice left back.
Unfortunately, the move backfired as he made only 2 appearances in the 2014/15 season. With Ange Postecoglou at the helm of the national team, players with match experience and form were priority choices, forcing Davidson to trade the Premier League for a less glamourous affair with Huddersfield Town.
While momentum and game time has picked up again for the Socceroo, this is a prime example of a player riding the back of international form and suffering due to a lack of patience.
I don’t even have time to go into Cahill, Kruse, Herd, Oar, Rogic and the other Aussies involved in big clubs overseas, but as you can see, it’s a different experience for everyone.
The verdict for Mooy…
Regardless of who wants him, Aaron Mooy clearly isn’t going to develop at Melbourne City. He has described himself as ambitious and wants to prove that, but first XI experience and minutes on the pitch are crucial for a player with the intelligence and ability to take him to great heights.
Somewhere like Watford (where Harry Kewell is a part of the coaching staff) would be a dream move, but it is also a huge transition and Mooy needs to ensure he doesn’t burn his chance too early. If he listens to his agent and remains patient, I guarantee he will go places.
He’s got a look of Mark Bresciano about him (for obvious reasons), but my advice would be to grow his hair, do up some cornrows and watch the floodgates of opportunity open.