McDonald, Leckie and… Agüero? City coach Kisnorbo plays down “paper talk”

Melbourne City head coach Patrick Kisnorbo has played down rumours that his A-League pacesetters are set to make a mid-season transfer splash, jokingly asking if the club will next be linked with Sergio Agüero.  

The World Game reported on Tuesday that Socceroo winger Mathew Leckie was being actively recruited by Kisnorbo’s club, possibly with an eye to bringing him in ahead of the end of the current A-League transfer window on May 10 should he be able to secure a release from current club Hertha Berlin. Melbourne Victory and Western United were also raised as suitors. 

The report suggested that the 30-year-old, who is from Melbourne and played junior football at FC Bulleen Lions, would supplant English winger Craig Noone in the City starting XI and give them a fearsome, Aussie attacking triumvirate of Leckie, Andrew Nabbout, and Jamie Maclaren. 

If completed, the capture of the attacker’s signature would be a fitting riposte to title-rival Sydney FC’s recent addition of Adam Le Fondre, but would still leave the current A-League leaders exposed to international call-ups come finals time. 

Leckie, Nabbout, and Maclaren all loom as likely selections in what Graham Arnold has promised will be an extended squad for the Socceroos coming World Cup qualifiers, while Sydney FC – fielding Englishman Le Fondre, Brazillian Bobô, New Zealander Kosta Barbarouses, German Alex Baumjohann and Serbian Miloš Ninković – won’t need to worry about losing their sperheads. 

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Neither side, nor any other in the A-League, will have to worry too much about losing Olyroos, at least, with Arnold explaining last week that his squad for the coming Maurice Revello Tournament is set to be made up of foreign-based players.

“Rumours are rumours,” said Kisnorbo. “I haven’t heard anything about it. I personally don’t know Mathew Leckie at all. It’s pure paper talk. 

“[Is it] because he’s Australian? Maybe we can fit his wages? It’s paper talk.

“With this industry, you get linked with everyone. So we’ll see who we get linked with next. 

“People need to understand, we’re in a salary capped league. We might be resourced because we have Manchester City behind us, but we spend the exact same as other teams because it’s a salary capped league. 

“I don’t understand how we can pay more than others when we all get the same amount of budget. We’re in the same boat. 

“We don’t know who is getting into the Socceroos, so we have to wait until that. And with buyers and stuff, you just can’t bring people in wily nily because of the rules [in the A-League]. We need to wait and see what happens first, who get picked for the Socceroos and we’d have to see what happens after that. 

“We can’t just bring people in for the sake of bringing people in – it doesn’t work like that. They all have to fit into the salary cap. It doesn’t work as you may think.”

City’s linkage with Leckie comes hot off the heels of the club being mooted as a possible landing spot for veteran attacker Scott McDonald, who parted ways with Brisbane Roar – reportedly after signing a non-disclosure agreement – last week. 

They were rumours Kisnorbo denied after his side’s 1-1 draw with Macarthur FC on the weekend. 

“Scotty is a good friend of mine,” he said. “We haven’t spoken about him joining the club but I wish him well in his new adventure.”

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Important to note amidst his denials, however, is that Kisnorbo also rebuffed talk that City was interested in signing young midfielder Anthony Lesiotis following his release from Western Sydney Wanderers, only for the 21-year-old to subsequently be revealed as a mid-season signing of the club. 

Nevertheless, shadowy as the realm of transfer rumours and dealings are, what is certain for City is that they are set to clash bottom-of-the-table Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Thursday night, with Kisnorbo eager for his side to secure the three points after being forced to settle for a draw away to Macarthur. 

“There’s a couple of tired bodies but everyone is in contention for tomorrow’s game,” he said.  

“It doesn’t matter to me where they are on the ladder. We’ll play our strongest team possible that we can and do what we need to do and focus on tomorrow’s game.

“The disappointing thing [against Macarthur was] they had one shot on goal and it was a goal.

“We created enough opportunities to win the game. 

“I look at it in terms of, did we learn a few things that could maybe improve us? Yes. Are we going to try to fix them? Yes.”

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Header Image Credit: Melbourne City

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