Sydney FC are on the lookout for a quality centre-forward to replace top scorer Adam Le Fondre for the upcoming A-League season as youngsters Trent Buhagiar and Luke Ivanovic continue to wait for a shot at the top gig.
Head coach Steve Corica says Trent Buhagiar or Luke Ivanovic will lead the line for Sydney alongside Kosta Barbarouses in the Asian Champions League next month but confirms they are on the lookout for a new number nine following Le Fondre's move to India.
"To not replace [Le Fondre] would be silly of me," Corica told FTBL. "I think until we find one Trent Buhagiar and Luke Ivanovic are both talented young boys that will step up and do a job.
"We are looking at Champions League at the moment, I don't know if we'll have a striker by then, [Ivanovic & Buhagiar] are going to have the opportunity to stake their claim to put themselves forward to be that number nine."
FTBL understands they are searching overseas and in Australia for a new striker and that a new recruit would fall in the confines of the revised salary cap for this season.
"It's about what's available, Corica said. "Obviously the climate has changed a bit with COVID the amount of money in the salary cap has dropped as well, whatever money we have available we'll try and get the best person for that role
Sydney FC fans have been itching for Buhagiar to be given more game time having made a strong comeback from his ACL injury in 2018. Corica however isn't ready to give Buhagiar the role of leading the line in the A-League.
"I have plenty of confidence in Trent, he's obviously had a major injury two years ago," Corica said. "He's had one year back with limited minutes, he's played most of the time off the bench.
"I have full confidence in him but I think we need to replace Adam as well it's about depth in the squad as well so we are losing Adam which has been a big part of our squad for two years."
Besides Le Fondre, Sydney FC have kept a hold of their entire squad from last season with Corica content with finding a striking replacement being the only business they need to do in the transfer market.
The club is set to fly out of Sydney on November 14 to complete the group stage of the Asian Champions League in a hub-style setup in Doha, Qatar with defender Ryan McGowan to fly to the middle-east from Scotland.
Sydney FC have been working directly with the NSW Government to organise being able to train while in quarantine upon their return to Australia and with the AFC on their accomodation in Qatar.
The FFA have been involved in ensuring the clubs get the exemptions to enter and train in Australia following the conclusion of their matches in Doha.
Club CEO Danny Townsend is happy with the progress that has been made so far saying to FTBL: "Nothing has been confirmed at this stage but it is looking more likely we are going to be able to do that."
Depending on the performance of Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory in the ACL, their quarantine period back home might eat into the beginning of the domestic season which is set to begin on December 27, throwing more spanners into the works for league chiefs