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Melbourne Heart careful in bringing in foreigners

Melbourne Heart football operations manager John Didulica said the new A-League club have been very careful in which foreign players they have signed.

The Heart, who kick off their career in Australia's top flight next season, are putting together a strong inaugural squad highlighted by the inclusion of Dutch pair Gerald Sibon and Rutger Worm and Brazilian striker Alex Terra.

But Didulica made it quite clear that the club did not just look at these players on a DVD as it can be a huge mistake to commit part of a club's salary to a player you don't really know.

"I think you need to be ultra careful and prudent in being foreign players into the league... they will occupy a large chunk of your salary cap budget," Didulica said in an interview with

"If you have three or four players who are taking up 40% of your disposable spend, all of a sudden you've got a pretty muted team and I think a couple of sides in the A-League last season had foreign players who didn't live up to expectations and as a result they struggled significantly.

"We've been really careful that any foreigners we do bring and any player who's going to be on a solid wage, we're entirely comfortable to bring; there's no guess work when you're building a team for the first time.

"We certainly wouldn't sign anybody just from a DVD. We firstly went and worked through where we felt international players were most needed in our squad.

"With someone like Rutger Worm it was a little bit easier because Head Coach John van't Schip had tracked his career in the Netherlands over a number of years, having seen him come through as a youngster.

"With Alex Terra it was a bit more difficult; we always said we wanted to have a bit of a mix throughout the squad, we didn't want just four Europeans, three Dutchmen or four South Americans."

Didulica added that it was a plan to bring in players from different regions as he believes it can have a positive effect on a squad and it was that process that bought about the signing of Alex Terra.

"We wanted to integrate different aspects to the playing squad and I think that improves the quality of your football because you tend to be a bit less predictable and you get different characters in the dressing room as well, which is a good thing," he added.

"We looked at bringing in a South American, Central American or even an African. We explored our networks and John van't Schip went to South America for three weeks in March and was able to speak to a lot of people in South America that we both knew. From that Alex Terra emerged."

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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