Who are the A-League’s VISA and Marquee players? – Part 1

It’s another season in the A-League and that means there’s a whole bunch of foreign players signed who most fans, casual or not, know nothing about. But have no fear, that’s why we are here. Let’s get to know all 19 new foreign players to join the league this season.

We’re not counting signings such as Wellington’s Adrija Kaluderovic, Ali Abbas, and Andreu because they have A-League experience.

Karim Matmour

Who is he? Karim Matmour is a 32-year-old attacker signed to Adelaide United. Matmour will be the first Algerian in the A-League and the 16th African. He previously played for Huddersfield Town before signing for 1860 Munich prior to coming to Adelaide.

Why you should care: Matmour has made 295 first-team appearances mostly in Germany, and has played at a World Cup. Not necessarily a goal scorer but should create plenty of chances.

 Johan Absalonsen

Who is he? Johan Absalonsen is another 32-year-old attacker signed to Adelaide United. Except this one is a Danish left winger. He will become just the sixth Dane to play in the league, but joins Michael Jakobsen and Thomas Kristensen.

Why you should care: Absalonsen comes to Adelaide after a five-year stint at Sonderjyske in the Danish Superliga where he scored 27 goals in 125 appearances. Has all the makings of a suitable replacement for Sergio Cirio.

Daniel Adlung

Who is he? Daniel Adlung is a recent signing for Adelaide. A German footballer signed from 1860 Munich as well, the 29-year-old was a part of Wolfsburg’s 2009-10 Bundesliga winning side but failed to make an appearance.

Why you should care: He’s made 300 odd appearances in German’s lower leagues. Reports say he can play anywhere in the midfield so don’t be surprised if Marco Kurz uses him in an utility role.

Ersan Gulum

Who is he? Ersan Gulum is an interesting character. Born in Melbourne, he represented the Olyroos twice before switching allegiances to Turkey and making seven senior caps. The centre-back is loan at the club from China’s Hebei Fortune where Gervinho and Ezequiel Lavezzi call home.

Why you should care: He made close to 100 appearances for Turkey’s Besiktas so you know he’s tough. Should fit in well with the Australian style.

Eric Bautheac

Who is he? Bautheac has had spells with Ligue 1 sides Lille and Nice to name a couple. Bautheac has never been capped at any level by his nation but you don’t play close to 300 matches in France if you’re not any good.

Why you should care: Clinical and creative. Those are the two words this writer has used to describe the French attacker. Brisbane have lost a lot of goals with Jamie Maclaren, Brandon Borello, and Thomas Broich departing. He’s only 30, he should create plenty. Only two French players have played in the A-League, Mathieu Delpierre and William Gallas. So it’s either going to go really well or horribly, horribly wrong.

Massimo Maccarone

Who is he? Massimo Maccarone is Kevin Muscat in disguise a 38-year-old Italian forward who has spent 13 of his 18-year career playing in Italy. Those five years were with Middlesbrough playing alongside Mark Schwarzer and Mark Viduka.

Why you should care: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink said he will love him until the day he dies. Don’t expect him to pull of a Daniel McBreen-esque season from 2012-13, don’t expect him to score as many goals as Jamie Maclaren. But he brings a lot to Brisbane outside of scoring goals, he should bag a few here and there though.

Wout Brama

Who is he? Wout Brama is probably the best replacement for Nick Montgomery the Central Coast Mariners could have asked for. At 31 years old he comes with plenty of experience in the Eredivise including over 200 appearances for FC Twente.

Why you should care: Wout Brama should make the Mariners’ defence stronger and with 83 per cent passing accuracy from 495 passes attempted at Utrecht last season could be the rock the Mariners need.

Tom Hiariej

Who is he? Another Dutch defender calling Gosford home this season. The 29-year-old spent 10 seasons with FC Groningen playing with Jason Davidson and Adjin Hrustic.

Why you should care: Tom Hiariej should form a solid combination with compatriot Brama in the heart of midfield and should make Paul Okon’s men hard to break down.

Asdrubal

Who is he? Asdrubal is a 26-year-old Spaniard with La Liga experience with Las Palmas, he has also played for Leganes.

Why you should care: He’s got big shoes to fill with the departure of Roy O’Donovan, Andrew Hoole and Connor Pain should provide plenty of service, and it’ll have to be good. He has eight goals in 63 senior appearances.

Bart Schekenveld

Who is he? Another ex-Eredivise player joining the A-League this season. I’m starting to think it’s written in to some players’ contracts. He’s 26, Dutch and has played for Feyenoord, Heracles, and PEC Zwolle.

Why you should care: Melbourne City have never struggled to score goals. Keeping them out, however has always been a problem. A centre-back pairing of Schekenveld and Jakobsen in front of Eugene Galekovic or Dean Bouzanis should prove to be very solid.

That’s it for part 1 of our series, tune in tomorrow as we take a look at the other half of foreign players in the A-League.

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