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Eyes on the prize as City signs Mauk, eyes Troisi

Soccer

Melbourne City have signed former Adelaide United midfielder Stefan Mauk but are playing a waiting game on another South Australian star, Socceroo James Troisi, as the A-League club looks to build a squad to challenge for the title.

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That push might not include Anthony Caceres, however, who is reportedly hoping to move to the United Arab Emirates.

Mauk, 21, after leaving City in January last year following 47 appearances, has returned on a one-year loan deal from NEC in the Netherlands.

The bright midfielder was swapped for Adelaide United utility Osama Malik by former coach John van ‘t Schip.

He became an A-League winner after helping United to their emphatic grand-final win over Western Sydney.

That form won Mauk a Socceroos call-up and a move to NEC – however he failed to crack the first team in Holland and signalled his intent to leave the club after they were relegated in May from the top flight.

New club boss Warren Joyce said he could see Mauk’s qualities.

“We believe Stefan has the attributes to link well with our attacking players and provide a dynamic contribution to our team,” Joyce said.

Whether he gets the chance to link up with Troisi remains to be seen.

The 29-year-old Socceroo is considering joining City after the expiry of his contract at the end of last season with cross-town rivals Victory.

Unlike Mauk’s return, Troisi’s move would be acrimonious.

He would be the highest-profile player to switch between the two clubs since Harry Kewell extended his playing career in 2013 in the red and white stripes of Melbourne Heart.

Not a single Heart or City player has moved the other way, although Victory were linked earlier in this off-season with signing Mauk.

After impressing in Victory’s run to the A-League grand final last season, Troisi hoped his form at the Confederations Cup might lead to a return to European football – or earn a marquee contract at Kevin Muscat’s club.

The attacking midfielder claimed Victory didn’t offer him that deal – a claim the club privately denied.

The 29-year-old was on the brink of a move to Israeli club Maccabi Haifa – even pictured holding their scarf – before he decided against a move.

Photo: Twitter

According to a report in Fairfax Media, Caceres – on loan at City from parent club Manchester City – is hoping to move to Arabian Gulf League side Al Wasl in the hope of more first-team appearances.

-AAP

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