The two Melburnians pulled off the biggest coup in Australian club history with their own version of “The Italian Job”, dragging a global spotlight to the humble A-League in 2012 when the Juventus icon and Azzurri great swapped Turin for the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

Can an agent pull a rabbit out of the hat again in 2019?

Here are four potential names from the English Premier League who are now currently free agents. 


The stats say it all: 116 caps and 50 goals for Japan

An extraordinary athlete, fabulous pro and English Premier League winner with Leicester City in 2016, Okazaki has also been a thorn in the side of the Socceroos for the last decade. 

At 33, the Japanese star would be a cracking signing in a similar way that Shinji Ono was for Wanderers in 2012.

The free agent was part of a massive overhaul at Leicester City at the end of last season after four years with the Foxes.

Huddersfield tried to sign him in the January transfer window offering a modest $400,000 for the Japanese striker who can also play deeper.

His experience and attraction to Japanese fans in Australia would make him an excellent marquee. Like Ono.

And having been teammates with Keisuke Honda in the Samurai Blue, he'll know who to call for the inside word on the A-League. 

Okazaki and Honda at the 2018 World Cup for Japan


With Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler now in charge at Brisbane Roar, would Daniel Sturridge make a good marquee signing in Queensland? In short, yes. 

The former England striker, capped 26 times, has been released by European champions Liverpool after playing a bit part in the Reds’ extraordinary season.

The likeable Sturridge is both marketable (his goal-scoring celebration) and is still playing at a high level.

At 29, he may enjoy being the centre of attention again for a spell at an Aussie club, one that may even include an Asian Champions League campaign if Glory or Sydney FC were looking. 

He’s been to Australia on numerous Liverpool tours over the last six years (below against Sydney FC in 2017), which could be a factor in staving off potential moves to the MLS.

As we write, Sturridge - who turns 30 on September 1 - is still on the market.


The Mancunian doesn’t need to be told about Australia’s quality, having been a teammate of legend Tim Cahill over his 12 years in the blue half of Merseyside.

And actually, the imposing central defender has played against three A-League clubs over the years: Melbourne Heart, Brisbane Roar, and Sydney FC during friendly tours of Australia. 

Signing from Sheffield United in 2007, “Jags” ended his distinguished career with a goal late last season (an injury in the warm-up saw him start in the win over Arsenal at Goodison).

Like Steven Taylor at Phoenix, Jagielka’s sheer presence, his experience, goal-scoring nous, and leadership would be a coup at an A-League club.

The 36-year-old 40-times capped England player has in recent weeks been linked with Celtic and Sheffield United.

Jagielka getting to grips with a young Michael Marrone and Gerald Sibon in their 2010 friendly with Melbourne Heart


Loved at Selhurst Park, his link with former teammate Mile Jedinak might be one to exploit for A-League agents?

The midfielder scored 16 times in his almost 170 appearances for the London club since joining on a permanent basis in 2014 following a loan spell from Southampton a year earlier.

Excellent attitude (his thank you note to the club when his exit was confirmed was all class), great experience having also captained Palace and at 32, the Londoner has plenty more to give.

In the last couple of months, Puncheon has been out on loan at Aaron Mooy’s Huddersfield but he returned for Palace's last game of the season and got a rousing send-off from the home fans. 

Not a huge name, but the sort of professional who could add bite and desire to any A-League midfield. 

Puncheon (centre) celebrates with Mile Jedinak during their time at Palace