Melbourne Victory’s loan signing of Raul Baena was the club’s seventh new addition ahead of the 2018/19 Hyundai A-League season.
When you include the promotion of Birkan Kirdar and Nicholas Sette from the youth team, that number rises to nine.
We decided to take a look at each of the new boys and what they’re likely to bring to the squad.
Where do you start with Honda? The 32-year-old bring a wealth of club and international experience to Victory. The 98-time Japan international, and former AC Milan #10, became the highest-scoring Asian player in World Cup history with a goal against Senegal in Russia earlier this year. A well-rounded attacking player with great dribbling, shooting and passing skills, Honda is also a dead ball specialist.
WATCH: Keisuke Honda's best free kicks
Another player who scored at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Toivonen looks set to lead the line for Victory over the next two seasons. The Swedish star enjoyed a number of years at Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven, before plying his trade in Ligue 1 with Rennes and Toulouse and the English Premier League with Sunderland. At 6’4’’, 32-year-old Toivonen is a tall, powerful forward who will no doubt cause plenty of headaches for A-League defenders.
WATCH: Ola Toivonen's best goals for Sweden
A commanding centre-back who played in the Bundesliga for more than a decade, Niedermeier will play in important role in leading Victory’s defence. After graduating from the Bayern Munich youth academy Niedermeier made a name for himself at VfB Stuttgart across eight seasons. It was at Stuttgart that Niedermeier formed a formidable partnership with Victory fan-favourite Matthieu Delpierre.
WATCH: Georg Niedermeier defensive skills
29-year-old Baena is a Spanish defensive midfielder who until now has played his entire career in Spain. He is the kind of player who can control the tempo of a game with his work rate and passing ability. Baena made over 150 appearances in La Liga with Espanyol and Rayo Vallecano before captaining Segunda Division side Granada CF in the 2017/18 season.
WATCH: Raul Baena highlights
Most Victory fans won’t need an introduction to Ansell, who returns to the club following a stint overseas with Portuguese side C.D. Tondela. The centre back is a product of Victory’s youth academy and played an important role in the 2015 Championship success. 24-year-old Ansell has signed a two-year deal and will no doubt continue to improve under Kevin Muscat.
WATCH: Nick Ansell scores against Atletico Madrid
Brown is an experienced left-sided full-back who also provides an option going forward. The 24-year-old has 88 A-League appearances with Brisbane Roar to his name and won the Gary Wilkins Medal for Players’ Player of the Year in the 2016/17 season. He has played at left-back in all of Victory’s pre-season games so far.
WATCH: Corey Brown on joining Victory
Like Brown, Roux is an experienced full-back who joins Victory after making more than 100 A-League appearances with the Central Coast Mariners. The 25-year-old has played nine times for the New Zealand national team. He has lined up at right-back in each of Victory’s matches so far this pre-season.
WATCH: Storm Roux on joining Victory