Melbourne City has a new international marquee, with former Slovenian international Robert Koren joining the club on a two-year deal.
City’s interest in Koren was revealed during the team’s recent preseason tour in the UK, where the midfielder spent much of the past decade representing West Bromwich Albion and Hull City. Now, just days after receiving confirmation that Frank Lampard would not follow fellow New York City FC signing David Villa for a brief stint down under, the club has announced Koren’s capture.
The signing will likely create ripples of discontent among some City fans, who may have been hoping for a bigger name to fill the international marquee spot. Such an opinion is misinformed, however, as Koren comes to the club with a strong pedigree at both club and international level. For a detailed post about Koren’s accomplishments, go here. That article also included a discussion about why City cannot expect to attract players of the calibre of Lampard, Villa and the like on a permanent basis...yet.
In announcing the signing (on a Sunday night, strangely), the club said Koren “ticks all of the boxes” as a marquee. “We’ve brought Robert to Melbourne to use his experience and class to help contribute to the team; he’s a natural leader, his resume in the UK speaks volumes and he’s a team player both on and off the pitch,” said prominent City Football Group executive Brian Marwood.
What is most interesting about the signing is the contract length – A-League marquees, particularly players new to the competition, typically sign one-year deals. But in agreeing to a two-year stint, the club and Koren have shown significant faith in each other, which can only augur well for team stability.
Koren replaces Orlando Engelaar as the club’s international marquee, after the popular Dutchman opted to return to Europe following his interrupted season in Melbourne.
Stay tuned for more Robert Koren coverage on Noisy Neighbour this week, including an interview with a prominent Hull City blogger about what we can expect from our new marquee man!
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