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.
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.