Melbourne City breathed a sigh of relief after welcoming back Bruno Fornaroli back to preseason training ahead of the new season. Despite still yet to sign a new contract with the club, last year's A-League top scorer's return to Melbourne has signalled his intent to agree terms on a fresh deal as the club's international marquee. Having lost two key members of last year's side during the offseason, the prospect of Fornaroli not returning for the new season had led some City fans to begin to panic about the upcoming campaign.
Fornaroli made the move to the A-League last year and went on to establish himself as an instant fan favourite at AAMI Park. Over the course of his first year in the league, the Uruguayan scored 23 regular season goals and another two in the elimination final to end the campaign with 25 goals to his name. While there is a good chance the South American could have moved to a club in a more established league, it appears the striker enjoyed his stay in Melbourne enough to convince him to return this season - turning down the opportunity to sign for Sydney FC a couple of months ago.
This is certainly good news for those City fans still smarting after watching as Aaron Mooy and Harry Novillo departed the club during the offseason. Alongside Fornaroli, Mooy and Novillo combined for 46 goals last year, and all three leaving would have been a huge hammer blow to City's hopes this season. Currently boasting title odds of around 6/1 with the latest A-League betting, it's clear that the bookies feel as though the club could struggle without the same attacking threat they possessed last season.
After a sensational season with Melbourne last year in which he scored 11 goals and registered 20 assists, Mooy was snapped up by sister club Manchester City in the English Premier League before being loaned out immediately to Championship side Huddersfield Town. French forward Harry Novillo was another who caught the eye last year, scoring 10 goals and making five assists, but the 24-year old instead decided to sign for Turkish second division outfit Manisaspor last month.
Even without those two players, though, John van 't Schip is still expected to be given plenty of attacking options before the start of the new season. As well as securing Fornaroli to a new contract, the club are believed to be in the market to bring Socceroos legend Tim Cahill back to the club as a season-long guest player. Currently playing in China, the forward is rumoured to be looking at a return to Australia before calling time on his illustrious career, and the 36-year old could be tempted to move to the ambitious Melbourne organisation.
Elsewhere in the squad, Corey Gameiro is closing in on a return to action following his ACL injury, with the winger expected to be fit in time for the start of the new A-League campaign in October. By that time, Melbourne fans will be hoping their have a squad capable of really challenging for the title next year.