Young Socceroo Joe Gauci joins Aston Villa in EPL
Anna Harrington |
Socceroos goalkeeper Joe Gauci has secured a dream move to the English Premier League, joining high-flying Aston Villa from Adelaide United.
Villa have paid almost $A3 million to secure Gauci on a deal until 2028, with the goalkeeper to depart after the Socceroos finish their Asian Cup campaign.
It is the joint second highest fee paid for an Australian in A-League Men, after German giants Bayern Munich forked out $A5.5 million also to Adelaide United to lure Nestory Irankunda in November last year.
Gauci’s signing follows 2023 moves for Jordy Bos to Belgian club KVC Westerlo and Marco Tilio to Celtic, both from Melbourne City. Tilio has since rejoined City on loan.
Gauci’s departure comes only days after fellow Adelaide goalkeeper Steven Hall joined Brighton and Hove Albion’s academy.
The 23-year-old Gauci will be an understudy to Argentina’s Emiliano Martinez, who won the Golden Glove award as the best goalkeeper at the 2022 World Cup.
Unai Emery has Villa sitting fifth on the table.
Gauci’s move was confirmed less than 24 hours before the Socceroos’ bumper Asian Cup quarter-final against South Korea in Doha.
At national team level, Gauci looms as heir apparent to Mat Ryan, including deputising for the Socceroos captain in a pre-tournament friendly against Bahrain.
He earned his first cap against Ecuador last year.
The 194cm shot-stopper has recorded 14 clean sheets in 71 games for Adelaide.
“If it (the move) does work out for him, he’s someone that’s obviously shown a lot of potential, and he’s a great kid,” Ryan told AAP before confirmation of the deal.
“He’s got a great attitude. He’s very professional. He’s very mature for his age and technical aspects as a goalkeeper. He’s got a lot of talent there.
“So obviously I’d wish him all the best, and if he’s wanting to seek some advice on all that, I’m there to be helpful in whatever way I can.”
Fellow Socceroo Harry Souttar was expected to stay at Leicester City, despite links to Sheffield United, Everton and Leeds.
The transfer window shuts at 11pm on Friday in England (10am Saturday AEDT).
Also making a move is former Central Coast Mariners star Nectarios Triantis, who joined Scottish Premiership outfit Hibs from Sunderland.
The young defender will join the Hibbies on loan until the end of the season, linking up with former Mariners boss Nick Montgomery.
The 20-year-old has made just three appearances this term for the seventh-placed Black Cats who are chasing promotion to the Premier League via the Championship playoffs.
Montgomery signed the Australia U23 international, who was a regular for him during the Mariners’ A-League title-winning season, along with another young central defender in Owen Bevan, who signed from Bournemouth.
Wales U21 international Bevan has played in the Premier League for the Cherries and spent time on loan with Cheltenham this season.
Hibs this week received approval from the Scottish Football Association to progress with an investment in the club from Bournemouth’s owners.
Socceroo Marco Tilio also sealed a loan move back to Melbourne City from Celtic as manager Brendan Rodgers trims his squad.
Tilio has struggled for game time at Celtic but looked sharp at Socceroos training and in recent cameos off the bench for Graham Arnold’s men at the Asian Cup.
He returns to City, where he scored 20 goals and made 19 assists in 86 appearances.
HIGHEST DEALS INVOLVING AUSTRALIAN PLAYERS:
1) Nestory Irankunda ($A5.5 million – Bayern Munich to Adelaide United, November 2023)
2) Joe Gauci ($2.9m – Aston Villa to Adelaide United, January 2024)
3) Marco Tilio ($A2.9m – Celtic to Melbourne City, June 2023)
4) Jordy Bos ($A2m – Westerlo to Melbourne City, May 2023)
5) Aaron Mooy ($A1.4m – Manchester City to Melbourne City, June 2017)AAP