Socceroo MacLaren has already started talks with City. (AAP Image/Albert Perez)
Socceroo MacLaren has already started talks with City. (AAP Image/Albert Perez)

City eye Fornaroli replacements

Melbourne City are leaving no stone unturned in their quest for a new striker, with Brisbane Roar's Adam Taggart now on the radar to replace banished Bruno Fornaroli.

Talks with Socceroo Jamie Maclaren about a marquee deal are underway, while fellow Asian Cup squad member Andrew Nabbout has also been mentioned as a desired, albeit less realistic option.

But Taggart, who narrowly missed out on selection in the Asian Cup squad and lined up against City on Friday night, is now firmly on City's wishlist with uncertainty at his current club.

 

Adam Taggart is still firing despite Brisbane’s problems. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)
Adam Taggart is still firing despite Brisbane’s problems. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

 

Taggart signed a two-year deal after leaving Perth Glory for Brisbane Roar this season to play under legendary Socceroos striker John Aloisi, who quit his post in December.

It's unclear what Brisbane's stance is on releasing the player this January transfer window, but City could only afford one of Taggart or Maclaren it appears.

Taggart, 25, is equal with Wellington's Roy Krishna on nine goals (in 13 games) this season, with only Sydney FC's Adam Le Fondre (11) ahead in the golden boot race.

City's marquee striker search is inextricably linked to the future of the club's record goalscorer Fornaroli.

The Fornaroli-Andy Keogh trade has reached an impasse, with City telling the Uruguayan that he is free to join any A-League club except Perth.

Fornaroli has been shopped around to other A-League clubs, but a Taggart swap is not on the cards.

Hopes of an overseas sale are fading amid lukewarm interest in Fornaroli from Japan, with City needing to do the deal before the A-League transfer deadline of January 31 to be able to sign a replacement.

Fornaroli's preference is to stay here, with his Australian citizenship imminent.

City coach Warren Joyce is desperate to sign a recognised striker, despite presiding over a stellar run of results (five wins, one draw and two losses) without Fornaroli.

Joyce threw right-back Ritchie de Laet up front to good effect in Friday's 1-0 home win over Newcastle Jets, scoring the only goal with a well-taken finish - his fourth of the A-League season.

The Belgian, who has been nursing a leg injury, was a striker in his youth, including Manchester United's reserves, Joyce revealed.

But since transforming into a defender at the Red Devils, and later Leicester City, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa, de Laet had never scored more than two goals in a season and netted just five career first-team goals before joining City.

 

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