Transfer market hots up

Wollongong?s title celebrations might just be winding up and the opening round of the new season still three months away, but the transfer market is already working overtime.

Wollongong?s title celebrations might just be winding up and the opening round of the new season still three months away, but the transfer market is already working overtime as clubs refine their squads for the 2000-2001 National Soccer League campaign.

Northern Spirit has had the biggest post-season purge, releasing no fewer than eight players and recruiting four from other NSL clubs.

On their way out from North Sydney Oval are long-time English league journeyman David Seal, Sean Cranney, Shane Lyons, Dean Culina, Paul Wearne, Adam Snyder, Elvis Olic and former Socceroo Abbas Saad. Troy Cranney has retired to bring the number of departures to nine.

Joining the Spirit for next season are Gabriel ?Chi Chi? Mendez and Scott Thomas from Sydney Olympic, big Brazilian striker Alex Moreira from Carlton and Wollongong?s Noel Spencer.

Esala Masi, who scored in Wolves? preliminary final win over Carlton and was a member of the team that stunned Perth in the grand final, will line up with Newcastle next season.

Former Melbourne Knight and South Melbourne striker Francis Awaritefe?s long career in the top flight might be over following the 35-year-old?s release by Marconi, which has also let go Pierluigi Dia Gia, Paolo Marchesani and Vlado Zoric. Striker Zeljko Babic is having trials at Belgian club St Truiden.

Gippsland Falcons have had a major clearout, releasing Igor Mandic, Peter Kakos, Doug Marcina and goalkeeper Simon Miotto, while Sandy Robertson has moved to West Australian state league outfit, Joondalup.

The Kingz have said goodbye to former Falcons and Carlton utility Marcus Stergiopoulos, David Moya and John Lammers, while Brisbane has lost goalkeeper Clint Bolton to Sydney Olympic and released Brad Ditton.

Parramatta has been busy recruiting for its second season in the NSL, luring former Socceroo captain and Adelaide stalwart Alex Tobin, Hamilton Thorp from Perth Glory, South Melbourne championship defender Nick Orlic, Andrew Clark from Canberra Cosmos and grand final hero, goalkeeper Les Pogliacomi, from Wollongong. However, it has lost Socceroo Stephen Laybutt to Feyenoord.

Teen sensation Ivan Ergic has departed Perth to play for Juventus feeder club Basel in the Swiss league, but his loss is offset by the arrival of all-time NSL goalscoring king, Damian Mori, from Adelaide City.

South Melbourne striker Michael Curcija has signed a three-year contract with Perth Glory but is hopeful of clinching a deal with Yugoslav club Partisan Belgrade, where he is still having trials, having skipped Raul Blanco?s Olyroos camp on the Gold Coast this past month.

South has released Jim Tsekinis following an unsuccessful two-year stint following his move from West Adelaide. He has returned to Adelaide and is likely to be a target for the Force, which has already picked up defender Ante Kovacevic from Melbourne Knights and Chris Tanchevski from Newcastle.

Adelaide young guns Matthew Kemp (Spal), Louis Brain (Verona) and Nick Sabljak (Torino) today (Monday) began trials in Italy, having been accompanied to Europe by Force president Bob D?Ottavi.
Source: Sportal