More often than not, young players in the A-League succumb to the unfortunate result of having limited spots in a squad. This can be down to the club having too much quality, the player plateauing in their development, fiscal disagreements or a range of other issues.
Therefore, it should be commended if we are seeing players who are unable to break through at one club plying their trade elsewhere. Take Moudi Najjar, a young forward who arguably looked best to take the league by storm after winning the golden boot in the National Youth League and scoring once in 210 minutes for Melbourne City. It seemed a great choice to go to Macarthur Bulls on loan, but unfortunately Najjar could not find his feet – unable to gain a single goal involvement in the 20/21 season.
His time appeared to be over, with 10 starts in the A-League and not many solid figures to back up his contract status. However, instead of falling back upon the NPL like Marc Marino or Wade Dekker, Najjar has signed on for another two seasons as a fully contracted Bulls player, looking to jump start his career at the great age of 21.
With fantastic control with the poise to be a real threat going forward, if Najjar is coached correctly and fights for opportunity, we could be looking at the player that Melbourne City believed he could become very shortly. The Bulls will no doubt be looking for a replacement for outgoing Matt Derbyshire and ex-Melbourne-City Markel Susaeta after his retirement announcement. As a City fan, I’ll be hoping Najjar can fill that void and establish himself as a true professional. Just not against us…
In similar fashion, Ramy Najjarine also found himself without a contract at the end of the 20/21 season, after notching 3 assists while on loan for the Newcastle Jets from Melbourne City. The young attacking midfielder looked good to return to Melbourne City as a more developed and senior player, but this outlook was cut short as Stefan Colakovski and Marco Tilio burst onto the scene. Removing any doubt of the dynamic duo’s future at Melbourne City, Najjarine was unfortunately left without a club.
Although, not for long.
Western Sydney Wanderers snapped up their ex-academy player with a massive grin on their faces. The 21-year-old began his professional pathway during the inception of the club back in the day, going on to playing (and scoring goals) for their NPL side. Now, after gaining experience at two A-League clubs, Najjarine will hope to impress the Wanderers enough to earn a contract longer than the one year that he has been given.
Either you’re breaking through like Najjar, or ready to take on the league like Najjarine, it is an exciting time as A-League clubs look to put faith into youngsters and players look to retain their professional status. With expansion looking to come, and the possibility of a National Second Division, now is certainly the time to improve your game as a junior player in Australia.