City confirm four departures, including on loan star & Young Socceroo

Star midfielder Valon Berisha will depart Melbourne City at the conclusion of his loan deal, among four exits confirmed by the reigning premiers.

City announced his departure on Friday afternoon alongside Young Socceroo Raphael Borges Rodrigues, goalkeeper Matthew Sutton and defender Kerrin Stokes.

Berisha joined the club on loan from Ligue 1 outfit Stade de Reims and was an immediate hit down under, becoming an integral part of City’s push for a third straight Isuzu UTE A-League Premiership.

The Kosovan international made 27 appearances for the club, scoring one goal and tallying seven assists – including two in both the Semi Final legs against Sydney FC.

INS AND OUTS: Isuzu UTE A-League 2023-24 Transfer Centre

In his last game for the club, Berisha was forced from the field with an injury during the first-half of the Isuzu UTE A-League Grand Final, which City went on to lose 6-1.

The 30-year-old will now return to France ahead of next season, with his current contract at the club running through until June 2024.

Since his departure, Reims have changed managers with Will Still replacing Oscar Garcia in October, giving Berisha the chance to impress the new boss in pre-season.

Borges Rodrigues – who is the son of former Adelaide United striker Cristiano – arrived at the club in 2019 and made his debut as a 16-year-old during the Sydney hub in a 3-1 win over Western United.

The 19-year-old winger went on to make 15 appearances in all competitions, scoring two goals and grabbing one assist, but only featured twice this season as a substitute against Macarthur FC and Wellington Phoenix.

His release comes just after scoring seven goals in five games in City’s NPL2 side this season, including six in two games against Langwarrin and Kingston City.

Meanwhile, Sutton departs after three seasons at the club, where he played primarily as a back-up to Tom Glover.

The 23-year-old made three appearances for the club, but none this season. Sutton was lauded for being a much-loved figure in the club’s locker room since arriving in 2020 and awarded the team’s 2022-23 Clubman of the Year.

Stokes featured eight times in all competitions in three seasons after emerging from City’s Academy in 2020.

However, he didn’t build on any of those appearances this campaign, playing primarily in the club’s NPL2 side.

The quartet join outgoing young gun Jordan Bos (KVV Westerlo) on the departure list, while the likes of Aiden O’Neill, Tom Glover and Marco Tilio have also been linked with European moves.