Highly effective striker Nick D’Agostino has left Melbourne Victory to hitch fellow Socceroo Gianni Stensness at Norwegian membership Viking.
D’Agostino – who final week scored a contender for objective of the A-League season in his struggling aspect’s 1-1 draw with Adelaide United – has performed his final sport for the Melbourne membership, not having flown to Perth on Friday with the remainder of the Victory squad for Saturday night time’s conflict in opposition to the Glory at Macedonia Park.
“We’re delighted our younger gamers are being checked out by golf equipment and we’re very supportive of them progressing their careers,” Popovic mentioned.
“It’s fantastic information for Nick and for our soccer membership.”
Viking completed eleventh in final yr’s Eliteserien, Norway’s high flight, with former Central Coast Mariners midfielder Stensness having made 37 appearances for the membership in all competitions up to now two seasons.
D’Agostino, who joined the Victory in 2021 from Perth, scored 17 objectives in 42 appearances in all competitions for the Popovic-coached aspect.
“Nick’s an rising expertise. (He) got here to an enormous membership (in) Melbourne Victory as by no means being a starter, was a beginning participant for Melbourne Victory final yr, and made the Socceroos (workforce), and now we’re speaking about golf equipment abroad being excited by him,” Popovic mentioned.
Nevertheless, with D’Agostino gone, and the season-ending knee damage suffered by Portuguese import Nani. Popovic wants different attackers – together with former Glory ace Bruno Fornaroli – to step up.
Signed to a everlasting deal this week by the Victory after having initially joined the membership as an injury-replacement participant, the Uruguay-born Socceroo is but to fireside and has been warming the bench in current weeks.
“Bruno is a participant that performs with a lot intelligence, can maintain the ball up and convey gamers into the sport,” Popovic mentioned.
“Bruno’s a high participant who has confirmed over time what he can do.”
Fornaroli is certain to get a frosty reception on his return to Perth after departing the Glory in controversial vogue in late October.
Glory coach Ruben Zadkovich mentioned his workforce was not targeted on the return of Fornaroli, or former Perth mentor Popovic.
“Our focus is firmly on us,” Zadkovich mentioned.
“I’m simply worrying about what we’re doing.”
Regardless of Victory sitting final on the ladder after a horror spell on and off the sphere, Zadkovich anticipated a “very resolute and targeted” efficiency from a “huge membership with million-dollar gamers”.
“They’re a big-spending workforce and we anticipate them to deliver all their massive weapons and rock as much as Macedonia Park to provide us a really stiff take a look at, so we’ll must be at our greatest,” he mentioned.