Croatian lift for Heart

ROOKIE coach John Aloisi has heard all the jibes about Melbourne Heart's squad being ripped apart by the departures of some of its best young talent in the A-League's interminable off-season, but the former Socceroo striker does not look too perturbed.

One of the country's top goalscorers himself, he is happy he has the depth in his squad to be competitive against any opposition in the upcoming season - and the firepower at his disposal to cause teams more than a few problems in the attacking third of the pitch.

Yesterday, Aloisi welcomed the final member of his front line in Croatian forward Josip Tadic, a 24-year-old who has signed for Heart after periods in his native country, Germany's Bundesliga, France's Ligue Un and in Poland.

Tadic is lean and tall, a man who can play with the ball at his feet, in wide areas or as a target man if needed, says Aloisi. His versatility will make him an important member of his team's attacking line-up.

''He's very mobile, he can play anywhere along the front three, can hold up the ball, and technically he's very good. We have got five strikers now, all of whom are different and he's going to be a key player for us,'' the Heart boss said.

While Dylan Macallister is more of a traditional target man, Tadic will complement Mate Dugandzic, new signing Golgol Mebrahtu and David Williams, the one-time Socceroo who needs a good season to relaunch his career. ''I am very happy with [the] firepower we have got,'' Aloisi said.

''We thought we needed something a bit different and Dylan and Josip gives us that. We should be creating enough chances for them with players like Fred and Matt Thompson in the midfield.''

Tadic has an impressive pedigree. And he knows what to expect from the A-League, having played with two of its current big names - Adelaide's Socceroo Dario Vidosic and Brisbane's Golden Boot winner Besart Berisha - when all three were at Arminia Bielefeld in the Second Division in Germany.

''I spoke to them before deciding to come here. I was out of contract and when the offer came I asked them about the league,'' he said. ''They said it was a good standard and that Australia was a good place to live. It's different to Europe, they said it was hard tackling and a lot of running, not so technical, but good to play in and a good standard.''

He should feel at home immediately, as his English is good and he knows at least one familiar face at the Heart in Dugandzic, who was in the Dinamo Zagreb youth team when Tadic was in the first-team squad having returned from an 18-month spell with Bayer Leverkusen in the German Bundesliga at the start of his career.

The story Croatian lift for Heart first appeared on WA Today.

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