Adelaide United may have arguably the best foreign contingent in the A-League but coach Josep Gombau is still scouting for more with an eye to the future.
Gombau and the Reds reunited for the start of pre-season this week, with the coach returning from a scouting trip in Spain.
Adelaide have their full quota of visa players in Isaias, Fabio Ferreira, Cirio, Jeronimo Neumann and Marcello Carrusca, as well as Brazil-born Cassio who is now an Australian citizen.
Ferreira, Cirio, Neumann and Carrusca contributed 32 of the club’s 45 goals in 2013-14, while Isaias was a revelation in his deep midfield role, winning the Aurelio Vidmar Club Champion award.
But Reds assistant Mike Valkanis revealed Gombau is always on the lookout for more talent, which will have other clubs worried.
“Josep has been in Spain looking for an attacking player for the future,” Valkanis told FourFourTwo.
“He’s always looking towards the future with foreigners. Even if it’s the following season, so he’s having a look at particular players who will improve our squad in the future.
“Josep doesn’t just plan for the week, he plans 12 months out. I’ve never seen such planning at a club. At Christmas we had plans for next season.”
Gombau’s approach is all part of his two-year plan at Coopers Stadium, which Valkanis, who has been with the Reds as a player or coach since its inception in 2003, said had breathed new life into the club.
“He’s totally different to what the club has had in the past from a management point of view,” Valkanis said.
“We’re used to different leaders around the club but he’s special and you’ve seen how close he is to the players and how he’s brought the club together.
“I’ve been here for 10 years and I’m starting to feel like the club was when it first started in the first couple of years where everyone was working together. He’s got a lot to do with it.”
The club still has plenty of work to do on the recruitment front this off-season, following the departures of Jon McKain and Michael Zullo, who isn’t expected to return after a loan spell from Utrecht.
Valkanis suggested any new signings were still some months away.
“We obviously have to bolster our defence and get a left-sided player for our defence,” Valkanis said.
“We want two players fighting for one position all over the park. We’ve got a shortlist and we’re working on that.
"Hopefully in the next couple of months we’ll get those one or two players to strength our squad up.”
Following on from Adelaide’s sixth place finish in Gombau’s first term in charge, the club will look to improve further in pre-season.
Pre-season training will initially include skills and ball work, before focusing on movements as the new A-League campaign approaches and the FFA Cup gets underway in late July.
The Reds pre-season will include an August trip to Darwin as part of their connection with Tourism NT.