Apart from the A-League and the FFA Cup, Wanderers are back in the AFC Champions League, which they famously won in 2014 to make history as the first Australian club to do so.
A total of almost 80 players have moved on from the 10 A-League clubs since the end of last season, having either chosen to sign for other A-League clubs or overseas clubs, been released, or retired.
Wanderers have the biggest number of turnovers - 13 – and included among the departures are Alberto, Andreu, Mark Bridge, Romeo Castelen, Federico Piovaccari, Liam Reddy, and Dario Vidosic.
The arrivals so far include Uruguayan defensive midfielder Bruno Pinatares, Spanish central defender Aritz Borda, and former Brisbane Roar midfielder Steven Lustica. Plus, two players – forward Lachlan Scott and midfielder Mario Shabow – have been elevated from the youth squad to the senior squad.
The rest of the signings, from overseas and within Australia, will presumably be announced at regular intervals in the weeks to come.
The evaluation process of possible new signings began before last season had even finished and now Wanderers are deep into the process of negotiating with those players they want to sign.
Management at the club are confident coach Tony Popovic will assemble a squad capable of pushing for honours. And why wouldn’t they be? He has done it more than once before and as recently as at the end of the 2014-2015 season, when there was another large turnover of players.
One of the new players signed then, for the 2015-2016 season, was left-back Scott Jamieson and he told The World Game it was business as usual in the early days of pre-season training for the 2016-2017 competition.
“We’ve got enough numbers to have good sessions,” Jamieson said. “There have been 13 or 14 players at the early sessions. When we started training again there were still a few of the foreign boys to come back to Australia and there are still obviously more players to be signed up.
“It’s good, we’re just starting to ease into it and get that base of fitness, and when there are a few senior players still to come in it gives a few of the younger guys the chance to make an impression early on, with a few players missing.
“We’ll have a big fixture list this year, with the Asian Champions League, FFA Cup and the A-League, so while we’ll still have a tough pre-season we’re just gradually easing into it at this stage.”
The nature of the A-League, with its five-month off-season – the grand final was played on 1 May and next season kicks off on 7 October – is that it provides time for clubs to approach significant overhauls of their rosters with confidence, knowing the players will get time to gel.
There is plenty of scope for pre-season trial games and it is not unusual to see clubs play seven or eight of those, plus at least one FFA Cup match.
Jamieson said A-League players were used to rosters changing significantly at clubs from year to year.
“Look, to be honest with you, I’ve been around for a while now and there’s no surprise in regard to the turnover of players in this league,” he said. “Not just at the Wanderers, but all clubs.
“The competition just seems to have that cycle of players coming and going in large chunks. I think it’s rare for teams to have just two or three changes, there are always about five, six or seven.
“You get used to it, and one thing about the coaching staffs around the league, especially ours at the Wanderers, is that they know what they’re doing. There’s no concern or anything like that, you just wait to see which players come.
“I guess the positive thing about having such a long off-season is that you do get the opportunity to blood a new team, if that’s what a club wants to do. We did it last year with a large turnover of players, myself included.
“It gives you that opportunity to get to know your team both on and off the field.
“Everyone will be here soon enough and then it comes down to worrying about yourself and your own performance and making sure you put yourself in the best possible position to try and get a place in the team for the start of the season.”