Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat says he isn't under pressure from within to recruit a new Australian marquee player as he seeks to fill the void left by departed captain Mark Milligan at the Hyundai A-League reigning champions.
The Socceroo departed the A-League powerhouse for Baniyas of the United Arab Emirates in June, leaving Carl Valeri, Leigh Broxham and youngster Rashid Mahazi as the club's only experienced options in central midfield.
Speaking to reporters on Monday ahead of Victory's match away to Balmain Tigers in the Westfield FFA Cup round of 32, Muscat described the search for a new signing as “a work in progress”.
"It'd be nice to bring someone into the squad but it's not in an advanced stage at the moment," the current A-League Coach of the Year, said.
"We are obviously speaking to a few people.
Pressed on whether or not the newcomer would be like-for-like in terms of position, Muscat added: "It's a difficult one. I've clearly got a preference but at the same time I just don't want to pigeonhole that.
"Because if someone else does become available and it happens to be in another position, we will look it at. The obvious one is to bring in is another midfielder, but time will tell."
And according to the head coach, there is no specific time frame on a potential signing.
"I don't want to rush things," he said.
"The European markets … have still got a bit of time left but everyone's back training. Maybe those opportunities will be done and dusted. Over the coming weeks we'd like to be able to bring somebody in."
While Victory have so far retained the bulk of their championship-winning side, the loss of Asian Cup-winning Socceroo Milligan is something of a blow to the heavyweight club's standing as they embark on a title defence and AFC Champions League campaign.
But Muscat, who was able to call on both James Troisi and Tom Rogic during his first campaign in charge, claimed he isn't required to specifically seek a new Australian marquee simply for prestige purposes.
"No, I've never come under any pressure to sign somebody for those reasons," he said.
"Ultimately, I want to bring somebody into the football that first and foremost is going to make us a better team. That's the only criteria I have at the moment."