Following the World Cup, Josh Risdon laid bare his intentions to try his hand in Europe, but the Western Sydney Wanderers right-back has been swayed by the lure of the A-League’s newest club.
Risdon told FTBL in September 2018 that he was scanning Europe for opportunities, also having explored a move to Asia.
However, nothing was forthcoming and on Tuesday, Risdon became the first Australian player to sign with Western Melbourne ahead of their maiden A-League campaign in the 2019-20 season.
The 26-year-old has signed a two-year deal with Western Melbourne and becomes their second contracted player after marquee man Panagiotis Kone.
A move to the club – which intends to play out of Geelong initially before shifting to a permanent home in Tarneit – will signal Risdon’s third A-League home.
The change will bring to a close a two-year stay with the Wanderers.
“I’m absolutely stoked to be the first Australian player to join Western Melbourne,” Risdon said.
“With the signing of Panagiotis (Kone) as the marquee, I can see the club has big ambitions both on the park and off it.
— Western Melbourne Group (@WesternMelbGrp) February 11, 2019
“With their own boutique stadium being built, which I think is a great idea, the club has an exciting future.
“I’m a hard worker who understands that the fans in the West of Melbourne want players who’ll give absolutely 100% for the shirt. I can’t wait to start doing that.”
Western Melbourne’s inaugural football director Steve Horvat hoped Risdon, who featured for the Socceroos at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, could fill a mentoring role.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to bring Josh into the Western Melbourne family and we look to him being a leader and mentor to some of the younger players that will be joining the squad,” Horvat said.
“Attracting a talented current Socceroo shows our ambition and our commitment to building a competitive squad from the first season that our fans can be proud of.”
Risdon’s capture rounds out an exciting few months for Western Melbourne, whose identity as a club has begun to take shape.
Greek international Kone was recruited as marquee, while John Anastasiadis was brought in as an interim assistant boss.
And according to The World Game, the club’s name and colours are decided upon having gone to a public vote.
The report states the club will be formally known as Western Athletic, with green and black to be its colours.
However, it still needs to finalise a stadium deal with Geelong’s GMHBA Stadium.
In January, the venue – which houses AFL, AFLW and cricket – said no tenancy deal had yet been agreed.