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Tomislav Mrčela Signs With Jeonnam Dragons

Before the official start of the Summer Transfer Window, the Dragons have already made a key signing to shore up a leaky and frail back line with 25-year-old Australian center back Tomislav Mrčela officially joining the club.

On paper this seems like a tremendous signing for the Dragons. Mrčela is only 25 years old, started 4 games in Europa League this year, and has consistently been in good enough form to get called into the Socceroos camp. He comes to Jeonnam via Croatian side NK Lokomotiva, a country where he's spent the vast majority of his life and has dual citizenship with his birth nation, Australia. This dual citizenship means he's still eligible to play for either nation since he hasn't been cap-tied by either national team. Though Mrčela  was called in by Australia for a 2015 World Cup qualifier last year, he didn't play and therefore is still eligible for either team. He'll likely be using his time in the higher profile K-League as an audition for the two nations to fight over his services. Surely a benefit for the Dragons.

As the cliche goes, games aren't played on paper, and that's just fine. It's equally exciting looking at the tangible services Mrčela brings to the Dragons. Again, he's quite young so he'll have no trouble going the full 90 and sprinting down any attempted long balls through the middle. Additionally his 195cm frame is something the Dragons have desperately needed on set pieces and crosses in general. As one might figure, I haven't watched a ton of Prva HNL, but his YouTube highlights certainly suggest he's solid in the air, reads passing lanes quite well, and can even start the offense decently. If he can help lock down the back line and create some confidence in the defense, then it's possible the Dragons may finally switch out of the 4-2-3-1 formation to a more attack minded formation (like a 4-3-3) that suits the roster's skill set better.

Jeonnam are Mrčela's 8th team since he went pro in 2009, but the first outside of Croatia. While there were rumors of A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers FC also being interested in the young Socceroo's services, he instead chose to join Jeonnam. The choice to join the 10th place Dragons may well be a slightly slower step in his development instead of jumping straight into AFC Champions League with WSW, but it's also be a chance to join a back line in taters and gain experience martialing a defense in a league at a higher level than he's ever played in. At the age of 25 it's possible he sticks with the Dragons long enough to eventually see them into ACL, or moves on in a year or two having been the key cog in a K-League team's defensive makeup. Or maybe he just likes playing abroad and doesn't want to return to Australia and face the media pressure of being a fringe national-teamer playing in the domestic league. Whatever his reasons, he should be a tremendous fit for Jeonnam as they push for a top 6 finish.

1 comment

  1. It wasn’t expected for Switzerland to win yesterday's game. Embolo 's goal came as a nice surprise. It is good to see Switzerland scoring a victory in this match and adding 3 more points for their rankings. I am sure Ottmar Hitzfeld will have to review the team's offensive and defensive strategy for the next match against Hungary.

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