City begin global search for Fornaroli injury replacement

Melbourne City have already begun the international search to find an injury replacement for star striker Bruno Fornaroli, the club’s top goalscorer for the past two seasons.

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And given their high profile connection with owners Manchester City, the options are plentiful.

The Melbourne side could look to tap into the City squad for an on-loan replacement or search for another forward who is out of favour at their club and might be interested in securing regular game time over the next four months.

City’s scouting network is global – it delivered Fornaroli to them two seasons ago – and new coach Warren Joyce and his management team will also be able to tap into their expertise.

Fornaroli, City’s marquee player, is expected to be out of action until at least the new year having suffered a fractured ankle in City’s 3-2 FFA Cup win over Sydney Hakoah on Tuesday night.

His loss is a major blow to the City Football Group-owned club given his goalscoring record. In his first season in the A-League, Fornaroli scored 28 goals in the Cup and League, while in his second he netted 20 in the two competitions.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has rung the changes at the Etihad and in the last days of the transfer window City is reported to be moving on several players.

While Melbourne would no doubt love to have access to the likes of City’s out-of-favour Ivory Coast frontman Wilfried Bony as a short term signing he is thought far more likely to rejoin Swansea City, the Premier League club at which he made his name in England. He has also been linked to a surprise loan move to Italian club Hellas Verona as well as with Spartak Moscow, Marseille and Valencia.

Still, Melbourne City’s financial firepower and the fact that any short-term signing would fall under Fornaroli’s marquee status so his wage would not be counted under the salary cap, certainly gives them plenty of potential targets.

Given that Fornaroli – who will have surgery next week when the swelling goes down – is expected to return in January, any well-credentialled overseas signing who comes as a short term replacement could then look to move on from his parent club in the European January transfer window.

He would, if he played regularly in the A-League, maintain his fitness and be match fit for any new employer should he be able to secure a transfer then.

A move to Australia might look left field, but for some it might be a more tempting prospect than playing low intensity soccer in the reserves in front of paltry crowds through a European winter.

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