Melbourne City sign Mark Birighitti to three-year deal after Australia return
Melbourne City have moved to replace the recently departed Dean Bouzanis with fringe Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Birighitti.
Birighitti keeper made the PFA's team of the season in his last full season in the A-League and bolsters City's hopes of success this season.
"I'm pleased to be returning to Australia and to join a club with genuine title aspirations and a group with talent like Melbourne City is very exciting," Birighitti said in a statement.
The 27-year-old signed a three-year deal, returning to Australia after two years abroad.
Birighitti signed with Swansea City in 2016 but failed to crack the first team and departed after a season for NAC Breda, which has a partnership agreement with Melbourne City's parent club, Manchester City.
He made 15 appearances in Breda last term before deciding to move back to Australia.
"Mark is one of Australia's brightest goalkeeping talents and we think he's got a lot to give in this stage of his career" City coach Warren Joyce said. "He communicates well on the field, is a solid shot stopper and good with his feet. He's also shown he's adaptable to different playing styles throughout his career in Australia and Europe."
Birighitti will replace Eugene Galekovic as the club's No. 1 and could make his debut in the FFA Cup match against Western Sydney at AAMI Park on Sept. 19.
Joyce is not expected to add heavily to his squad until season, saying last month he couldn't "see more than two players" coming in.
Since then, the club lost Bouzanis to PEC Zwolle but added Florin Berenguer.
Joyce has also added young talents Riley McGree and Lachlan Wales, journeyman Rostyn Griffith and attackers Michael O'Halloran and Anthony Caceres for the 2018-19 season.