Arzani confident he can recapture his ‘best version’ as he makes return to ‘special place’ with Victory

Melbourne Victory have announced the signing of Daniel Arzani on a two-year deal, after he was released by former club Macarthur FC last week.

Arzani joins Victory after making 24 appearances for the Bulls last season in all competitions, scoring five goals and tallying eight assists.

The 24-year-old winger – who returned to the Isuzu UTE A-League last season after a difficult spell overseas – started the campaign strongly which put him firmly in the mix for a Socceroos call-up ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

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

However, Arzani was overlooked by Socceroos boss Graham Arnold for his final squad in Qatar, before his season ended prematurely in March due to an ankle injury.

The six-time Socceroo now returns to familiar surroundings at AAMI Park, returning to the city he burst onto the scene in with Victory’s arch-rivals Melbourne City as a teenager.

“I’m excited to be joining Melbourne Victory for the upcoming season and looking forward to getting stuck into pre-season with the team,” Arzani said.

“I understand the expectation that comes from joining a club like Melbourne Victory and I want to prove myself to the best fans in the league, week-in, week-out.”

“AAMI Park is a special place for me, and I believe that I can be the best version of myself at Melbourne Victory.”

Arzani debuted for City as a 17-year-old in 2016, but truly stamped his authority on the senior side the following season under Warren Joyce.

His performances were rewarded by winning the A-League Young Footballer of the Year, the Harry Kewell Medal as the country’s best player under the age of 23 and was named in the 2017/18 PFA Team of the Season.

GLOVER TO BORO: Ex-Melbourne City keeper joins Aussie pair at Middlesbrough
SILVERA TO BORO: Sam Silvera completes Middlesbrough move: Full details of record deal

The then 19-year-old caught the eye of Socceroos boss Bert van Marwijk, who called him up to the Socceroos’ 2018 FIFA World Cup squad, becoming the youngest Australian – at the time – to play on the world’s biggest stage as well as being the youngest player at the entire tournament.

Days later, he scored his first national-team goal in a friendly against Hungary, before impressing off the bench in each of the Socceroos’ three group stage games against France, Denmark and Peru.

His exploits caught the eye of Manchester City, who signed him on a four-year deal and loaned him to Celtic, where his time was cut short after tearing his ACL on debut.

Following his stint in Glasgow, he joined Eredivisie side Utrecht, Danish outfit AGF and Belgian team Lommel – before returning to Australia with the Bulls last year.

Victory boss Tony Popovic said he’s looking forward to seeing what Arzani can do for Victory and is confident they can help him “return to his best”.

“We’re incredibly pleased to welcome Daniel to Melbourne Victory and believe he has the assets to be a strong contributor to our success this season,” Popovic said.

“We’ve seen what he can produce. He’s a dynamic, young forward who has shown he can deliver and we believe the environment at Melbourne Victory will allow him to return to his best.”

Arzani is Victory’s first new off-season signing, joining youngsters Franco Lino, Joshua Inserra and Jordi Valadon who were all promoted to the side’s senior squad on scholarship contracts.

He could make his club debut as soon as July 17, where they will head north to face Newcastle Jets in an Australia Cup playoff in Darwin.

Victory will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2022/23 season, where they finished 11th on the standings.

The club have already got to work on the departures front too, releasing Matt Acton, Lleyton Brooks, Kike Lopez (Kadete), Tomi JuricGeorge Timotheou and former Manchester United star Nani, while Fernando Romero and Bruce Kamau’s loan deals came to an end.