A-League clubs headed for another mass exodus

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The A-League is bound for another major turnover period with 146 players of the 273 players coming out of a contract.

The current off-contract figure equates to just over 53 per cent of players, with Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory topping the charts.

Wellington has a mere three players secured for the 2020/21 season, leaving 21 players looking for new contracts, including David Ball, Liberato Cacace and Ulises Davila.

Melbourne Victory goal machine Ola Toivonen is one of the biggest names without a deal beyond this season.

James Donachie, Tim Hoogland, Andrew Nabbout, Lawrence Thomas and Adama Traore will also be lon the hunt for a new deal at the end of their season with Victory.

It is the third consecutive year where players out of contract at the end of the season has risen above 50 per cent. The 2017/18 season had the highest percentage of players coming off contract, followed by 2018/19 and now this season.

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Players leaving clubs at the end of each season

The continual high rate of players coming out of contracts at the end of the season raises the question – why does this continue to happen?

One plausible reason is the increase of signing players on one-year deals.

Of the 150 players coming out of a contract at the end of the season, 57 per cent of them are on one-year deals.

While some of these players will eventually stay on with their clubs in the next season, many will be forced to look somewhere else.

Players out of contracts at the end of the season

Another reason for the heavy churn of players is because of salary cup pressures and squad restrictions.

While the salary cap is said to safeguard the economic viability of clubs, limiting the financial capabilities clubs can spend limits the how long they can extend player’s contracts.

The mass player turnover over the last two years is partly why the players’ union or Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) is calling for the salary cap to be scrapped.

That mass turnover rates provide too much uncertainty for players and fans, as discontent surges around the A-League, with more than fifteen players making appearances at five different clubs.

According to the PFA in the last five years transfer fees established by Asian clubs has doubled from $84 million to $170m. Over the same amount of time transfer revenue in the A-League fell from $3.7m to $2.6m.

The end of the 2019/20 A-League season will bring many changes across all clubs.

While some players will stay with their current clubs, short-term contracts and limitations with the salary cap has impacted how many players will leave at the end of the current season.

Statistics Created by ALeagueStats.com and PFA Report. 

FULL OFF-CONTRACT LIST 

WELLINGTON PHOENIX (21)

David Ball, Liberato Cacace, Ulises Davila, Luke DeVere, Cameron Devlin, Callan Elliot, Louis Fenton, Gary Hooper, Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi, Stefan Marinovic, Callum McCowatt, Liam McGing, Timothy Payne, Reno Piscopo, Alex Rufer, Oliver Sail, Walter Scott, Jaushua Sotirio, Matti Steinmann, Steven Taylor, Benjamin Waine.

MELBOURNE VICTORY (20)

Matthew Acton, Kenny Athiu, Jay Barnett, Corey Brown, Benjamin Carrigan, Thomas Deng, Kristijan Dobras, James Donachie, Tim Hoogland, Joshua Hope, Elvis Kamsoba, Birkan Kirdar, Anthony Lesiotis, Andrew Nabbout, Jakob Poulsen, Storm Roux, Matthew Sutton, Lawrence Thomas, Ola Toivonen, Adama Traore.

CENTRAL COAST (16)

Mark Birighitti, Jair, Milan Duric, Dylan Fox, Ziggy Gordon, Eun-sun Kim, Abraham Majok, Michael McGlinchey, Jacob Melling, Lewis Miller, Joshua Nisbet, Tommy Oar, John Roberts, Mario Shabow, Matthew Simon, Gianni Stensness.

WESTERN SYDNEY (14)

Mathieu Cordier, Mitchell Duke, Tarek Elrich, Matthew Jurman, Bruce Kamau, Daniel Lopar, Radoslaw Majewski, Alexander Meier, Tass Mourdoukoutas, Danijel Nizic, Tate Russell, Pirmin Schwegler, Nicholas Sullivan, Nicholas Suman.

PERTH GLORY (13)

Joel Chianese, Dino Djulbic, Ivan Franjic, Alexander Grant, Chris Harold, Soobeom Kim, James Meredith, Tomislav Mrcela, Juande, Jacob Tratt, Tando Velaphi, Brandon Wilson, Gregory Wuthrich.

ADELAIDE UNITED (12)

Carlo Armiento, George Blackwood, Mirko Boland, Yongbin Chen, Benjamin Halloran, Michael Jakobsen, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Vince Lia, Daniel Margush, Michael Marrone, Kristian Opseth, Ryan Strain.

NEWCASTLE JETS (12)

Nigel Boogaard, Jason Hoffman, Wesley Hoolahan, Lewis Italiano, Noah James, Ben Kantarovski, Patrick Langlois, Glen Moss, Kosta Petratosm, Yerasimakis Petratos, Matthew Ridenton, Kaine Sheppard.

WESTERN UNITED (11)

Connor Chapman, Alessandro Diamanti, Andrew Durante, Luke Duzel, Ersan Gulum, Thiel Iradukunda, Dario Jertec, Filip Kurto, Scott McDonald, Jerry Skotadis, Valentino Yuel.

MELBOURNE CITY (10)

Nathaniel Atkinson, Florin Berenguer, Dean Bouzanis, Stefan Colakovski, Harrison Delbridge, Joe Gauci, Denis Genreau, Rostyn Griffiths, Gianluca Iannucci, Lachlan Wales.

SYDNEY FC (10)

Luke Brattan, Adam Le Fondre, Milos Ninkovic, Andrew Redmayne, Paulo Retre, Ryan Teague, Marco Tilio, Harry Van Der Saag, Alexander Wilkinson, Michael Zullo.

BRISBANE ROAR (7)

Daniel Bowles, Jack Hingert, Jacob Pepper, Izaack Powell, Aaron Reardon, Kai Trewin, Jamie Young.

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Suzanna Telai
Football enthusiast and student journalist, covering Western United for the 2019/20 A-League season