There has been unprecedented upheaval among Socceroos and promising Aussies playing overseas this offseason. We're keeping track of every transfer and free agent in this article, plus the Indian Super League and Xanthi FC moves, while also analysing each player's various career trajectories.
For every Aussie who has returned home to the A-League and moved between clubs domestically, you can instead refer to FTBL's updated list of every A-League transfer this offseason.
We've also analysed and compiled the ongoing lists of Aussies heading to the Indian Super League and Greek club Xanthi FC. We'll continue to update both articles as news develops.
CURRENT SOCCEROO TRANSFERS
Brandon Borrello - SC Freiburg (Bundesliga) to Fortuna Dusseldorf (Bundesliga 2.)
The promising Socceroos winger has had mixed fortunes in Germany to date but has adapted well to German life, speaks the language and is determined that the Bundesliga suits his style best. His loan move to Fortuna takes him out of the top-tier, but is already securing him more game time at a crucial juncture in his career.
Mustafa Amini - AGF Aarhus (Danish Superliga) to Ankaragucu (Turkish Super Lig) and then back to AGF.
Amini has been in fine form for AGF for nearly four years now and was in high-demand before his Turkish transfer failed, leaving Amini homeless. The Socceroos midfielder is planning a legal challenge against the Ankara club, but in the meantime he's returned to AGF on a short-term contract.
Aaron Mooy - Brighton Hove & Albion (English Premier League) to Shanghai SIPG (Chinese Super League)
Arguably the biggest Socceroos move of the offseason, Mooy's venture to China in the peak of his career was a surprise and remains controversial among many Socceroos fans. It's a money-oriented move, but it may not have a negative effect on the midfielder's career at all, given the huge quality he has playing around him at SIPG. For a thorough analysis, check out our article here.
Mitch Duke - Western Sydney Wanderers (A-League) to Al Taawoun (Saudi Pro League)
Duke's move has so far resulted in mixed fortunes - his first few games were tough defeats in the Champions League, but he's recently hit strong form and his team made the knockout stages. Al Taawoun presents a marginal step up and there are promising signs with one of last season's deadliest A-League strikers, but given Australia's growing striking stocks, it may not be enough to revive his Socceroos career.
Trent Sainsbury - Maccabi Haifa (Israeli Premier League) to Kortrijk FC (Belgian Pro League)
Sainsbury is such a difficult player to predict because of his injury record and bouts of inconsistency on the world stage. Socceroos fans know that he's a sensational defender - too good for Israel - and the Belgian Pro League is definitely an apt level towards the end of his career peak. It's just a little concerning to see Sainsbury leave a club where he was enjoying the best form and injury-free run of his career for less certainty with a Belgian struggler. But, that's football.
Bailey Wright - Bristol City (Championship) to Sunderland (League One)
On the surface it's a step down, but Sunderland are a huge club that are finally raising themselves back from the dead and appear shoe-ins for promotion to the Championship.
What makes this move (he was on loan before the transfer) particularly enticing is how much the Black Cats value Wright - everyone from the coach to the club owner have been lavishing praise on the Socceroo, who says it's best experience he's had. He's already vice-captain and the club's de-facto leader and there is a lot of positivity around the injury-prone defender right now.
Daniel Arzani - Celtic (Scottish Premier League) to FC Utrecht (Eredivisie)
Socceroos fans would be relieved to see him move anywhere as long as he could finally get minutes under his belt, but Utrecht and the Eredivisie is arguably the perfect place. He's back to playing regularly, he's been in very good form considering his lengthy injury absence at Celtic, and Utrecht clearly value his prodigious talent. Another very positive move.
James Jeggo - Austria Wien (Austrian Bundesliga) to Aris Thessaloniki (Greek Super League)
This could end up being the most underrated transfer of the offseason. Jeggo is highly rated within the Socceroos camp, but not a flashy player by any means, so he needs a big club to show his true worth at a national level. Jeggo's Aris are on fire, leading the Greek Super League, and after years of flying under the radar in Austria he finally appears to have a platform to springboard into the big time. Greece is such an uncertain environment however, in complete contrast to Austria, that this move is a big risk. But so far, it's definitely paying off.
Ajdin Hrustic - FC Groningen (Eredivisie) to Eintracht Frankfurt (Bundesliga)
Behind Mooy, Hrustic's Bundesliga move is the biggest of the offseason as the winger, who has also flown under the radar for most of his career, becomes the third Aussie in a top-five European league. Frankfurt are a very solid club and perhaps a little too far up the table to ensure Hrustic regular game time (they're currently third) but the Bundesliga values youth.
Meanwhile, Hrustic's 70+ Eredivisie appearances prime the 24-year-old for long-term success. It's a very good move, but as we've seen with every Australian who's ever left to Germany, it's extremely tough to break through, especially in the forward positions.
Aziz Behich - Istanbul Basaksehir (Turkish Super Lig) to Kayserispor (Turkish Super Lig).
Finally, Behich secures a move with the prospect of regular game time. The fullback could never break into last season's title-winning Istanbul team and could only make five league appearances last season.
He's struggled for game time for many years now, only making a combined total of 12 league appearances in his last three years, with a handful of European and cup competitions padding out his numbers. The loan comes at a crucial time for Behich's international career, with the Socceroos fullback becoming an national team stalwart and Super Lig star due to his sensational form in 2017 at Bursaspor.
This was the most desperately required move of any Socceroo transfer this season.
Harry Souttar - Returned loan to Stoke City (Championship) from Fleetwood Town (League One)
One of the most talked-about Aussies this offseason, Souttar is now a regular for Stoke and earning high praise with the 13th-placed Championship side. He's ground out results and improved his game at every club, and was regarded among the best defenders in League One last season.
At just 21, the two-metre tall centreback has also reportedly been chased by multiple other English clubs, including Newcastle United.
On the next page, we analyse fringe Socceroo moves and young prodigies abroad.
FRINGE / FORMER SOCCEROOS
Apostolos Giannou - AEK Larnaca (Cypriot First Division) to OFI Crete (Greek Super League)
Giannou is an enigma. He has specific strong qualities but very rarely scored or assisted for his Cypriot club and yet earned a transfer to a solid, mid-upper table Greek Super League club nonetheless. We're assuming he'll be a back-up striker but Crete have just lost a key forward so there isn't a lot of depth there. This is a very interesting transfer and could potentially bring Giannou back into the Socceroos fold.
Brad Smith - AFC Bournemouth (English Premier League) to Seattle Sounders (MLS)
It really is sad to see Smith - who was once one of Liverpool's brightest prospects - slump to the MLS level. The MLS is a great league that is growing exceptionally quickly and Seattle are one of its biggest clubs, but it's easy to forget that Smith could have been one of the best fullbacks in the world.
His form at Bournemouth was never good enough but it possibly wasn't his fault: Eddie Howe brought in three or four Liverpool prodigies and they all failed under his coaching. We thought he might stay in Cardiff after his loan, but the fullback clearly was sick of the career uncertainty and loved his previous loan in Seattle, where he's a bonafide star and in hot form. With age on his side, this is far from the end for Smith. But it's not the move we were hoping for.
Dimi Petratos - Newcastle Jets (A-League) to Al-Wehda (Saudi Pro League)
He was set to join Craig Goodwin in Saudi Arabia, who has excelled at the club, and provide a really interesting Australian wing attack at a very solid, upper-table club. But Goodwin's recent departure means that Petratos is alone. He has excellent quality and could definitely fill Goodwin's shoes, so there is positivity around the move, but Petratos is a hot or cold player who has failed to fit in at foreign clubs previously, so we'll have to wait and see with this one.
Matt Jurman - Western Sydney Wanderers (A-League) to Xanthi FC (Greek Second Division)
Jurman was a giant for the Wanderers last season and has secured the hottest ticket in Europe for Aussies at the moment under Tony Popovic at Xanthi. He's entering his later years, so this isn't likely to be a springboard to greater European success, but it could well bring him back into the Socceroos fold if Xanthi - as hoped - become a middle-to-upper table Greek Super League club over the next few years. But there are a million variables before that happens.
Craig Goodwin - Al Wehda (Saudi Pro League) to Al Ahba (Saudi Pro League)
It's a surprising loan move given Goodwin has been in phenomenal form for Al Wehda and Al Ahba is a significant rung lower on the Saudi ladder. Disappointing that he likely won't be competing for Champions League spots.
On the next page, we analyse the list of prodigious young Aussies, Olyroos and Joeys who have made European transfers this offseason.
PRODIGIOUS YOUNG AUSSIES TO WATCH
Sam Silvera - Central Coast Mariners (A-League) to Paços de Ferreira (Primeira Liga), loaned to Casa Pia.
Portugal is a very tricky destination, but at least Pacos de Ferreira has a strong history of developing young Aussie talent. For Awer Mabil, it was a brilliant stepping stone. For a lot of others, Portugal has provided a mire where it's easy to slip into obscurity.
It's a country that values technical ability, which Silvera has in spades, and Casa Pia are one of the weakest clubs in the Portuguese second tier, so it's the perfect evaluation of where Silvera sits. There's a bonus Aussie connection here, as Silvera will join fellow Aussie attacker Danny Choi at the club. We've seen a lot of these transfers fail before with inexperienced A-League youngsters, so best to keep your fingers crossed.
Jaden Gasking - Sydney Olympic (NSW NPL) to Boavista (Primeira Liga)
The 16-year-old Sydney starlet joined former Portuguese giants Boavista last month, who finished 14th last season and have an incredible record of developing top-class talent. You can read our full interview with him here:
Cameron Peupion - Sydney FC (A-League) to Brighton Hove & Albion (English Premier League)
As one Aussie midfielder departs Brighton, another joins. Peupion impressed greatly at the last U/17 World Cup, his free kicks have a lot of wow factor, and hopefully he can proceed through the Brighton academy and fashion out a Premier League career. Huge ifs, but a great move nonetheless. He's actually the second Aussie in the Brighton academy alongside the older Peter Gwargis (who also can hit brilliant set pieces).
Riley McGree - Adelaide United (A-League) to Charlotte FC (MLS), loaned to Birmingham City (Championship)
Birmingham are once again becoming a very solid Championship outfit. They're currently eighth and have a lot of experience in their midfield, which means McGree will face a really tough test to break in.
But broadly speaking, it's a sensational move and the Aussie now has enough experience in both Europe and the A-League that it feels like the right time. He has two years to test himself before he joins the MLS expansion franchise, which will likely be just enough time to show whether he's a Championship-level midfielder or an MLS one.
Lachlan Brook - Adelaide United (A-League) to Brentford FC (Championship)
The most exciting move of the offseason for eagle-eyed Aussies abroad fans who love an up-and-comer, Brook joins arguably the best development club in England. Despite a population of just 27,000 people in the Greater London area and until two months ago, a stadium capacity of just 12,000, the Bees finished third in last season's Championship.
Brentford have sold on nearly 10 Premier League players in the past five years alone, regularly earning transfer window profits of over $40 million. Just a few months ago they sold Ollie Watkins for $54 million to Aston Villa, less than two years after they'd bought him for $3 million from Exeter City. The versatile, attacking Brook joins their reserves and we'll be keeping a very close eye on his progress.
Luca Doorbar-Baptist - Nottingham Forest (Championship)
The 18-year-old developed at Manly United before successfully trialling with the Championship club and has moved up the ranks from the U/18s to U/23 team. He's already battled an unfortunate injury-run early in his career, but is incredibly versatile and appears to have a bright future ahead.
Deni Juric - NK Rudes (Croatian Second Division) to HNK Sibenik (HNL.1)
Another highly-rated striker by the Australian national junior sides, Tomi Juric's younger brother has worked his way from the Hajduk Split youth teams into regular game time in the Croatian first division.
At 23, he appears one of Australia's brightest next-gen striker prospects and recently scored his first goal for the club, in his sixth league appearance.
Isaac Danzo - Levante (La Liga) to UD Alzira (Spanish Fourth Division).
A loan move for the promising midfielder. Danzo, who has been in fine form for Levante's reserves and even came under the radar of Manchester City, had returned to Australia during the COVID19 pandemic looking to be loaned to an A-League club.
However, with A-League clubs battling uncertain futures, a loan was not forthcoming and Danzo has instead linked up with UD Alzira in the Spanish third-tier. The 20-year-old Wollongong native has played 10 matches for Levante's reserves across the last two seasons.
A quick note on the Spanish fourth tier: it works much like the NPL, in that it splits 360 teams into conference groups. The top four teams from each conference group qualify for the finals, which will decide promotion into the Spanish Segunda Division B.
Kyah Cahill - CD Leganes
Socceroos icon Tim Cahill’s son, 16-year-old Kyah Cahill, is following in his father’s illustrious footsteps by signing for Spanish club CD Leganes. Cahill announced his son's signing for Leganes on Instagram, where he'll begin playing for the U/18s.
Leganes will play in the Spanish Segunda Division next season, after being relegated from La Liga last season after finishing 18th.
Alberto Del Grosso - Cittadella (Primavera) to Lecco (Serie C)
Just 19, Del Grosso is highly-rated by the Australian national junior sides, where he's often one of the only foreign-based players included in squads, and is in the squad for the upcoming AFC U/19 Championship. The defensive midfielder is yet to make his Serie C debut since moving to the club two months ago.
Rafael Rech - Juventude (Brazillian Serie B)
The 17-year-old son of former A-League star Fernando Rech signed his first contract with Brazilian club Juventude, in Rio de Janeiro, two months ago and has expressed his desire to play for Australia. He's currently playing with the club's U/20 team, which have a stellar record of producing young stars, from Cafu to Thiago Silva.
On the next page, all the other A-League and veteran Aussie moves abroad.
OTHER NOTABLE AUSSIE ABROAD TRANSFERS
Note: We haven't included Australian transfers to non-league or minor leagues.
Nikola Mileusnic - Adelaide United (A-League) to Randers FC (Danish Superliga)
A very interesting and somewhat surprising move, Mileusnic always entertained for Adelaide and his speed and goalscoring ability will be put to the test at a solid club, with a history of recruiting Australians, in a great showcase league. This move will be a good test of how the A-League stacks up against the Danish Superliga.
Kenny Dougall - Barnsley (Championship) to Blackpool (League One)
Many Barnsley fans were disappointed when the hard-working Aussie fullback-cum-midfielder left Barnsley, after grinding his way from the Dutch second tier into the Eredivisie and then to the English Championship.
Injury problems have beset Dougall, who famously tried to play on in a match for Barnsley with a broken leg, and a one-year deal with the League One strugglers is more reminiscent of that uncertainty than his actual skill.
Matt Millar - Newcastle Jets (A-League) to Shrewsbury Town (League One).
A loan move with a clear option to buy, Millar's Shrewsbury move is a big test for the NPL success story, who never quite hit the sensational heights at Newcastle that he had at Central Coast Mariners but clearly has the robust physicality and mature head to succeed in England.
Lawrence Thomas - Melbourne Victory (A-League) to Sonderjyske (Danish Superliga)
A fantastic transfer for the talented goalkeeper that could still see him make it into a bigger European league, with Denmark one of the greatest stepping stone leagues in Europe. He's playing regularly and in fantastic form.
Danny Choi - Beira Mar (Portugese Third Division) to Casa Pia (Portugese Second Division)
The former NSW NPL hero and major fan favourite, Choi is a silky winger that's really earning his stripes in Portugal, moving up through the divisions and playing regularly with strong performances. He's started four out of five matches this season and registered two assists and will likely provide an excellent role model to fellow Aussie Silvera.
Dean Bouzanis - Melbourne City (A-League) to Sutton United (Conference Premier)
Bouzanis' conference move was to be with partner Steph Catley, who signed for Arsenal.
George Blackwood - Adelaide United (A-League) to Oldham Athletic (League Two)
Blackwood joined Oldham as Harry Kewell's first and so far only Aussie signing after a long - and occasionally maligned - spell at Adelaide United, where he drew plaudits for his technical ability but was rarely sighted on the scoresheet. Oldham have struggled since his arrival and Blackwood has rarely played so far.
Abraham Majok - Western Sydney Wanderers (A-League) to PAEEK (Cypriot Second Division)
A tall, powerful A-League striker Majok left the Wanderers for the Cypriot second-tier club but is yet to make an appearance.
Gabriel Cleur - Returned to Virtus Entella (Serie B) from his loan to Alessandria (Serie C)
Cleur is an Aussie right-back who has played virtually his entire career throughout the Italian lower leagues, but still only 22, is slowly beginning to garner more game time in cup competitions for the struggling Serie B side.
Luka Prso - NK Olimpija (Slovenian PrvaLiga to NK Osijek (Croatian HNL.1)
The Young Socceroos captain proved making his way to the Slovenian first division was a good move when he secured a transfer to Croatian high-flyers NK Osijek this offseason, where he's currently playing with the reserves.
Nicholas Olsen - Al Jahra (Kuwait Premier League) to Khaitan SC (Kuwait Premier League)
The 25-year-old attacker is of special interest at the moment due to his FIFA dispute with his former club over allegations of unpaid wages and transfer blockages.
Rafa Jimenez - CD El Álamo (Spanish Third Division) to UD Somozas (Spanish Fourth Division)
We featured Rafa Jimenez in FourFourTwo Australia magazine all the way back in 2012, believe it or not, and he's still only 24. At the time he was Atletico Madrid's youth captain and had recently made the switch to Villareal, and widely heralded as one of Australia's brightest ever young talents.
Unfortunately Jimenez' career is yet to reach those lofty heights, but after a short spell at Sydney Olympic in 2019, he's now back in the Spanish fold.
Jack Iredale - Carlisle United (League Two) to Cambridge United (League Two)
He endured a long period of contract uncertainty and COVID related shutdowns so it's good to see the solid left-back keep his career afloat in the football league.
Cameron Burgess - Scunthorpe United (League Two) to Accrington Stanley (League One)
After nine years in the UK there was thoughts that Burgess may return to the A-League, but despite being released by the League Two Scunthorpe, he eventually secured a level up in Accrington. A very solid transfer for the former Olyroo.
Daniel Wong - Espanyol B (Spanish Third Division) to BJ Renhe (China League One)
The 22-year-old striker grew up in the Chesterfield and Espanyol academies and made the surprise move to China's second-tier three months ago, where he's become a regular performer but is yet to score.
Ashley Maynard-Brewer - Returned loan to Charlton Athletic (League One) from Dover Athletic (National League)
The 21-year-old Aussie stopper has been out on loan four times while at Charlton but appears to have finally locked down a regular spot at the League One club and has put in some sensational performances since returning.
On the next page, we analyse the highest-profile Aussie free agents.
George Timotheou - Released from Zulte Waregem (Belgian Second Division)
Our heart goes out to Timotheou, who looked to be one of the most promising Aussies in world football when he broke through at Bundesliga giants Schalke 04, but has suffered a horrible heart defect that appears to be bringing his career to a heartbreaking standstill.
"I could have dropped dead on the pitch. I could have dropped dead walking up stairs to my apartment," he told SMH. We're all hoping for the best, first for his health, then for his career.
Oliver Bozanic - Released from Hearts (Scottish Championship)
Reportedly in conversations with Central Coast Mariners, the former Socceroo would likely still have a lot to offer at A-League level.
Jackson Irvine - Released from Hull City (Championship)
The Socceroos star's inability to find a club after he was released from Hull, where he was captain, is one of the biggest surprises of this offseason.
As one of Australia's best midfielders, he was expected to find another club in the Championship but publicly expressed his frustration at his inability to do so. Recently he's been linked with Scottish club Hibernian, as he appears to become increasingly desperate as football leagues resume without him.
Panos Armenakas - KSV Roeselare collapsed financially (Belgian Second Division)
One of Australia's unluckiest nomadic midfielders, the formerly extremely highly-rated midfielder is once again without a club, after a move from Panathinaikos to the Belgian second division backfired when the club dissolved due to numerous off-field issues.
Blake Ricciuto - Failed transfer to Velez CF (Spanish Fourth Division)
Ricciuto was a star in Singapore last season and earned a move to Spain which fell through, leaving him back in Australia throughout the COVID shutdown and looking for his next club move.
On the next page, we analyse the list of departures to the Indian Super League and Xanthi FC.
INDIAN SUPER LEAGUE
India's biggest league isn't short of money and has traditionally preferred European players, but now that it's officially recognised by the AFC and able to take part in the Champions League (more detail on that below) it has jumped on the opportunity to recruit Australians to fill each team's mandatory Asian player quota. This has come at the perfect time for A-League players seeking to avoid pay cuts due to league-wide cutbacks.
Note that we only included Aussies heading to the ISL and not the growing tally of foreign A-League stars. For the full list of A-League departures this offseason, head to our A-League transfers list.
Jacob Tratt - Perth Glory to Odisha FC
Joel Chianese - Perth Glory to Hyderabad FC
James Donachie - Newcastle Jets to FC Goa
Brad Inman - Brisbane Roar to ATK Mohun Bagan
Dylan Fox - Central Coast Mariners to NorthEast United
Scott Neville - Brisbane Roar to East Bengal (loan)
BACKGROUND ON THE INDIAN SUPER LEAGUE
The ISL is a very interesting league. It's a sleeping giant in Asian football, with a lot of investment and a growing stature of classy foreigners calling it home. It's certainly no longer a retirement league, but it's also plagued by strange challenges rather unique to India.
Most notably, the country is home to two top-tier professional leagues competing with each other, the other being the (original) I-League. This discrepancy has meant ISL clubs have been unable to compete in the Champions League until recently. However, the ISL is now recognised by the AFC and increasingly dominant, which is where you'll find Australians, and the I-League is now considered the country's se
Indian football has long been hampered by foreign players and coaches with poor attitudes, who treat it as an easy payday, and this attitude has trickled down to India's homegrown players. Indian players have also been traditionally treated poorly by foreign coaches and players throughout the league. Put simply, there's a lot of Eurosnobbery going on at every level.
Despite this and too many other challenges to note though, India is clearly on the up. They broke their Asian Cup drought in 2019 and the growing number of Australians and foreign stars calling the league home is set to make the ISL a genuine competitor to the A-League for years to come.
This article provides a little more context:
Xanthi are a Greek second-tier outfit rather unique among European football clubs in that they're owned by an Australian, Sydney Olympic owner Bill Papas.
Papas has spoken publicly about his desire to launch the club as a springboard for young Australians to launch European careers and the club, under Australian coaching trio Tony Popovic (head coach), Zeljko Kalac (assistant) and Arthur Diles (academy director) may well become the most exciting Aussies abroad development this entire offseason.
The club are also widely expected to sign Popovic's two sons, Kristian and Gabriel, who are currently in Greece.
Matt Jurman - Joined from Western Sydney Wanderers
Josh Brillante - Joined from Melbourne City
Callan Elliot - Joined from Wellington Phoenix
Paul Izzo - Joined from Adelaide United
BACKGROUND ON XANTHI FC
They're a former Greek Super League club from Western Thrace (north east Greece). Papas bought the club after they were deducted 12 league points for ownership irregularities. Xanthi were allegedly partly run by the same owners who own Greek giants PAOK Thessaloniki.
PAOK members owned shares in Xanthi, which is illegal in Greece. Having two rival clubs owned by the same consortium obviously presents a conflict of interest, so Xanthi copped 12 points, while PAOK - who were defending league champions - were deducted seven points.
To add insult to injury, it was PAOK's league rivals and this season's champions, Olympiakos, who originally filed the complaint. Both clubs will take this legal dispute to the International Court of Arbitration (CAS), which will either uphold or dismiss the case.
This is a case that has been going on since last year, when Olympiakos originally filed to have PAOK relegated from the league entirely, but national lawmakers intervened at the final minute due to an amendment introduced in the Greek national parliament that spared the two clubs from automatic relegation.
Xanthi are widely expected to breeze through promotion next season, with Greek media speculating that their raft of Aussie signings could see them comfortably achieve a top-six Super League position.
For more information, you can read our full article on Xanthi here:
This, and our A-League transfer article, would have been nearly impossible without the exceptional work of Damian Davies, who has been producing a monthly Aussies Abroad spreadsheet since far back in our FourFourTwo days, and A-League Twitter account A-League Hub, which does an incredible job collating breaking news from across Australia. We highly recommend following them here.