Melbourne Victory’s January midfield reshuffle is nearly complete with the arrival of Socceroo star Tom Rogic on a season-long loan.
Almost a year to the day he signed for Scottish giants Celtic from Central Coast Mariners, Rogic is back in the A-League as he seeks competitive football ahead of the World Cup.
With just 97 minutes of game-time in Scotland this season, Rogic confirmed his move was based on firming his prospects for Ange Postecoglou’s Socceroos.
“It’s certainly a big factor. I don’t think there’s any Australian footballer right now that wouldn’t want to be a part of that World Cup,” he said.
“At 21, the thought of possibly being at a World Cup in Brazil is pretty special.”
While Rogic’s arrival will be a boost to coach Kevin Muscat’s squad, another Socceroo could be heading for the exit door alongside wantaway midfielder Mitch Nichols.
Captain Mark Milligan has been the subject of an overseas bid, reported to be from United Arab Emirates side Baniyas.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat bristled at the suggestion Milligan could leave ahead of his finals push and a potential Asian Champions League campaign.
“You’ve got to treat every situation in isolation,” he said.
“There was a statement released yesterday and I’ve got nothing further to add on that.”
Rogic, who will wear the No.21 shirt for Victory, will neatly slot into the hole left by Nichols.
While Victory play without the classic No.10 position that has been Rogic’s best, Muscat said he would feel at home in their midfield.
“He won’t be in a position that’s foreign to him,” Muscat said.
“The structure and the system we play will suit Tom down to the ground.”
Rogic confirmed interest from his old Mariners boss Graham Arnold’s new J-League side Vegalta Sendai, but said no other clubs, including Central Coast or Sydney FC, reached an agreement for him to consider.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat agreed Rogic’s signing was a coup for the club, saying he was excited.
“Not only for Victorians, Melbourne Victory supporters and fans, I think for Australia it’s exciting that he’ll be gracing the stadiums around the country,” Muscat said.
That tour could begin at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with Muscat suggesting he could start against Sydney FC.
“We’ll have a good look at him… but (starting) is a possibility, of course it is.”
Rogic said he felt ready to play.
“It’s no secret I haven’t played much competitive football lately and I don’t think there’s any substitute for that but I feel fit, I feel good,” he said.