Matthew Špiranović has joined Melbourne Victory's pre-season training camp. The 24-year-old center back, who will be 25 later this week, has not yet signed with Ange Postecoglou's outfit but according to FourFourTwo Australia, has been made available for transfer by his current club Al-Arabi of Qatar after the first year of his two-year contract.
Despite spending six years at clubs in Germany (FC Nürnberg) and Japan (Urawa Red Diamonds), Špiranović appeared in fewer than 100 matches. His move to Al-Arabi was meant to result in more playing time and a chance to rejoin the Socceroos, with whom he has 16 caps. Yet just 12 appearances in Qatar has left the 6'4" defender looking for a move back to the A-League. Špiranović did play in one game with the Victory in its inaugural 2005/06 season.
Higher profile names have dominated the Victory's offseason with the pursuit of Giorgos Karagounis and the ongoing Marcos Flores saga creating most of the headlines. Yet neither would particularly aid in the Victory's biggest weakness from last season: defense. Despite scoring the joint-most goals in the A-League with 48, the Victory yielded an alarming 45 goals. That was tied for third-worst in the league but more notably was more than double the total of either Premiers Western Sydney Wanderers or champions Central Coast Mariners.
Postecoglou is in the process of rebuilding his back line, which includes captain Adrian Leijer, Adama Traoré, Matthew Foschini, 19-year-old Nick Ansell and 18-year-old Scott Galloway. Sam Gallagher was released in the offseason and Peter Franjic back in February while Daniel Mullen's loan from Dalian Aerbin has ended. Though only training with the club at this point, Špiranović is expected to get a good look from Postecoglou. If a move can be made without a tremendous outlay of cash, it seems likely the Geelong-born Špiranović could be back in blue before pre-season games get underway.