As next season’s A-League campaign edges closer, Western United are beginning to build their squad ahead of their first ever season in Australia’s top flight.

After now signing eight players including current Socceroo Josh Risdon and Greek international Panagiotis Kone – the team for the club’s inaugural season is starting to take shape.

Though questions still remain over who else will come in.

So here are five players who they could target in the remaining months before the upcoming campaign.

Mark Birighitti

The Socceroos goalkeeper hasn’t found life easy since returning to the A-League at the beginning of this season.

The former Swansea City goalkeeper was expected to be the number one man between the sticks for Melbourne City but is yet to feature since moving across. It is expected that he will move on, despite having a three-year contract at the club, as he looks to break back into the Socceroos set-up after losing his spot in the squad to the likes of Brad Jones and Danny Vukovic.

Western United are currently without a goalkeeper and Birighitti could provide a quality addition to the squad due to his vast experience at the highest level along with being a safe hand between the sticks.

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James Meredith

It was only nine months ago when the current Millwall left-back was in the Socceroos squad in Russia ahead of the World Cup.

Months later, the 30-year-old is at an interesting time of his career after a successful run with many of England’s lower tier clubs including being the 2016-17 League One Team of the Year while playing for Bradford City.

His exploits with The Bantams included playing a pivotal role in their run to a League Cup Final appearance in 2013 which saw him rewarded with his first Socceroos call-up under Ange Postecoglou back in 2015.

His second season in the South of London has been plagued by injury and comes out of contract at the end of the current season where his side are currently in the midst of a relegation battle.

The expansion side does not have a left-back at the current time and Meredith not only presents a solid option at full-back but an experienced one. He would nonetheless be a key acquisition for the expansion outfit in the early stages.

Robbie Kruse

After spending the better part of nine years bouncing around many of Europe and Asia, the experienced winger may be all but set to return to the A-League.

Reports coming out of Germany suggest the winger won’t have his contract renewed at Bochum next season and the 30-year-old now faces uncertainty over where his next move may be.

After years plagued by injuries and a loss of form, a return to where it all started may be on the cards for the 75-time capped Socceroo who could present an intriguing option for Western United.

Before leaving to sign for Fortuna Dusseldorf back in 2011, Kruse was one of the A-League’s brightest talents and now it may be time for him to return to where it all began and at the current time – the only attackers that have been signed are vastly experienced.

Signing a Champions League and World Cup hardened winger would not be the worst move by the expansion outfit.

Tomi Juric

It has been a career of many ups and downs for the towering forward whose career has also hit a major crossroads.

After being frozen out of the Luzern squad, Juric is on the search for his next move.

Rumours have linked the Socceroos striker to an Indonesian move as European offers are few and far between.

As of yet no A-League outfits have put in a bid for his services.

Juric is a proven number nine in Australia’s premier competition as his form for the Western Sydney Wanderers, prior to his move overseas, was spectacular along with scoring the winning goal in the Asian Champions League final back in 2014.

Many Socceroos have looked to the A-League to get their careers back on track and a move for Juric to the expansion outfit would be quite the statement from Western United.

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Alex Sanchez

If only he wasn’t Spanish and took up a visa spot, right?

Arguably the best player in the NPL nationwide, Sanchez has been banging in goals for fun at Sydney Olympic since his move in 2018.

Prior to moving to New South Wales, the Spaniard had spells at La Liga outfits, Real Zaragoza and Osasuna and averaged almost a goal-a-game last season which resulted in a trial for Sydney FC earlier this season.

Even though he may take up one of the coveted visa positions, Sanchez could prove to be a diamond in the rough and a serviceable forward in their initial years.

At only 29, there are still some good years left in the tank for the Spaniard to exhibit his talents on Australia’s biggest stage.

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Nick D’Urbano
nicholas.durbano9@gmail.com