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Arnie

Living up to the other Arnie's famous tag line - I'll be back - Graham Arnold is well and truly back. Bigger, better, older (Arnold turned 55 last week) and wiser - as most of us are with the elapse of time and experience. 

Yes folks, Arnold fronted his first media conference as born-again head coach of the Socceroos and the Olyroos (Under 23s) before what Ray Gatt describes as a "huge media contingent" (although not all media were invited), saying he has a "clear plan in mind" for how the Socceroos will play.  

Arnold says he almost feels "embarrassed" when reflecting on his first short stint as Socceroos coach more than ten years ago, which was wedged between two very long stints as assistant coach, and says he is good at learning from his mistakes. Fortunately for Arnold, he gets another opportunity.

While everyone already knew about the Socceroos role (long before it was announced the first time!), responsibility for the Olyroos is a new-old development. It reverts to a previous model which had also been rejected over the past 15 years or so. Arnold says it will "help bring talented young players through quicker" - but one almost-veteran journo remarked to us that it looked more like another cost-cutting measure at FFA HQ.  

Arnold says he will address the issue of lack of goalscorers in the Socceroos. He believes the national team has been too reliant on Tim Cahill to score, and that the likes of Jamie Maclaren, Daniel Arzani, Mathew Leckie and Robbie Kruse "can collectively fill the void". 

He says he is excited about the talent he has seen coming through, having spent time at an Under 17 national camp watching 70 young players. He said he saw "kids do stuff I’ve never seen”.  He sees the national curriculum developed by Han Berger as a "solid starting point for grassroots". 

The press conference also announced Arnold's team of support staff, with his two assistant coaches being 44-year-old Ante Milicić (who will also coach the Olyroos) and 54-year-old Dutch coach, René Meulensteen, who will be based in Europe and be responsible for monitoring Australian players overseas. 

Daniel Arzani

It's been written, talked and tweeted about ever since the Socceroos packed their bags after their World Cup campaign was over, so this hardly feels like news: Daniel Arzani has been kept in the 'City Family' and been signed by Manchester City, with Celtic likely to announce his arrival on a loan deal very soon. 

The 19-year-old Arzani says it's been his dream to play overseas, and new Socceroos boss Graham Arnold believes it's a good move where Arzani will have the opportunity to play 60-65 games a season. 

Arzani's signing by Manchester City with an immediate loan is the same pathway that the City Football Group used for Aaron Mooy, who was loaned to Hudderfield, and then subsequently sold at good profit by Big City to Huddersfield. Reports state that Arzani has already undertaken his medical with Celtic.

Western Sydney Wanderers

A bad day for it, but Western Sydney Wanderers announced the signing of 31-year-old attacking midfielder, Alexander Baumjohann, who has most recently played in Brazil with Cortiba, but who has also played with Schalke 04, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayern Munich. He is a former U-17 and U-21 German national team player. Baumjohann joins compatriots, coach Markus Babbel and 'Aussie Pat' Ziegler at the Wanderers. 

Canberra A-League bid

And today's story from Canberra? A good one actually with the announcement that one of the best in the business, Ron Smith, is to be head of football for the Canberra A-League aspirants. When Canberra do make it to the A-League - which we believe will be as team number 13 or 14 - Smith will be responsible for talent identification, player development and coaching appointments. 


graham arnold, socceroos, daniel arzani, western sydney wanderers, a-league expansion, canberra, alexander baumjohann

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