Friday, August 10, 2007

New Signing - Adrian Leijer

This one has been semi-official for almost a week now and finally Fulham have officially announced that we have indeed signed 21 year old Australian centre back Adrian Leijer. Leijer has joined on a three year deal from Melbourne Victory for an undisclosed fee. Melbourne Victory are current A-League Premiership and Championship (the top four from the Premiership entering playoffs for a Superbowl style final) holders, the first team to have achieved that double and Adrian has made 40 appearances, scoring 1 goal, for them over the last two seasons. Previously Leijer had played 20 games for Melbourne Knights when they were part of the pre-A League National Soccer League. It looks like he moved to Victory when the Knights reverted to playing State Football (check out Wikipedia if you want to know more about the Australian league system!). Leijer also had a trial with Everton when he was only 18, they didn't pick up on him then but he's now got a couple of good seasons under his belt.

A couple of interesting quotes from Wikipedia. His first season with Victory "was a disaster and a real flashback of his season at the Melbourne Knights; Melbourne Victory had finished second last and last out of all the Australian teams in the league, however, his contribution to the team awarded him with The Players' Player of the Year and Clubman of the Year". His second season at the club was more successful, with Leijer cementing his position in the team alongside Rodrigo Vargas and Daniel Piorkowski, at the end of the season "having completed the double he was voted Hyundai A-League Young Player of the Year".

I've said previously that this is an odd signing. At 21 he's obviously not being considered someone who will be straight into the first team, yet he's at an age where if he's going to make it in a major league he needs to be playing first team football. I guess we'll have to trust Lawrie's judgement on this one, I may get to see him at a reserves match soon and will report back on how he looks but for now I don't think we need worry too much about how good he is.

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