Jacob Tratt (def), transfer from Adelaide United, James Troisi (mid), transfer from Western Sydney Wanderers, Tongo Doumbia (mid), free transfer.
Jerry Skotadis (mid) (sp), transfer to Macarthur FC, Ivan Vujica (def) (sp), transfer to Macarthur FC, Rene Krhin (mid) (sp), released.
Amazingly, overrated manager Aloisi won Western United the A-League last season. They were truly professional throughout, and despite producing horrible anti-football approaches, it worked out well for them. They annoyed a lot of teams by defending as well as they did, especially Lacroix, who was easily the best CB in the division last season. Some new signings really shone, and a number of players stepped up when they were suffering from multiples injuries. It was a real team effort, and now the challenge is for them to defend their crown.
Ins - Didn't make many signings pre-season but those they have signed are good ones. Tratt gives them that extra height at the back alongside Lacroix, pushing Imai to the bench or RB, depending on formation/opponent. Aolis performer. Troisi is a class act; set piece specialist, creator. Doesn't like to run much, but won't have to in his likely false nine role; just has to sit and pull the strings, and he will. Doumbia is a really solid defensive midfielder who is likely to sit alongside Kilkenny, allowing them to play Lustica further forward, which is something they accidentally discovered last season to be a very good move.
Outs - no departees of note. The writing was on the wall early on for Krhin when he didn't start the season with his new club. He found game time really hard to come by for a long time. Did ok when called upon but Aloisi needs to trust his players more than he trusted him. Vujica was another to fall foul of Aloisi; he didn't kick a ball for them last season, Aloisi often choosing Topor-Stanley at LB ahead of Vujica on the rare occasion that Garuccio was out. Skotadis was a backup CM, and has been replaced easily enough.
Should start the season really strongly because barely anything has changed at the club, and what little has shouldn't make an impact. Aloisi is not only cautious tactically but also with his players e.g. he'd rather play Kilkenny in a wheelchair than he would throw a young midfielder in at the deep end. Have to overcome being 'known' now though. Last season they profited from converting chances better than their opponents, not through dominating them. This season, it's likely that teams will sit off them, knowing that they hate to push out - that's something they're going to have to find a way to overcome or their title defence could become a bit of a flop. Still, no obvious deficiencies in their squad as a whole. May struggle for goals if Prijovic is out but his fitness levels are generally very good. LB could be a problem if Garuccio is out; Aloisi doesn't seem to want to give Markovic a go, meaning veteran CB Topor-Stanley has to fill in their sometimes, which is not ideal in a lot of ways. Other than that, a very solid and consistent group that should be very hard to beat. Diamanti still carrying an injury but not all that important nowadays to them anyway; quite a surprise that they renewed his contract.
Likely key players - Lacroix, Kilkenny, Prijovic, Troisi.
Will want 1-3 but without varying their approach more, 4-6 may be more realistic.