The ‘big drawcard’ that lured Ugarkovic to the Premiers: ‘It’s second to none’

Melbourne City have confirmed the signing of experienced midfielder Steven Ugarkovic on a two-year deal, with an option to extend.

Ugarkovic joins the club after one season at Wellington Phoenix, where he featured in every match for Ufuk Talay’s side before being released from his contract at the conclusion of their finals campaign.

The 28-year-old midfielder has made 194 Isuzu UTE A-League appearances, having spent the bulk of his time in the A-Leagues at Newcastle Jets before spending a season-and-a-half at Western Sydney Wanderers prior to his move across the Tasman.

“From my first meetings with Melbourne City, I could see the professionalism was second to
none here in Australia,” Ugarkovic said.

“Having the opportunity to play for such a big club who have been Premiers for three years in a row was a big drawcard for me, and I’m really looking forward to the Champions League
campaign as well.

“I’ve played in a variety of different systems over the years, so I feel like I have the experience
and ability to adapt to the City style of play. I pride myself on the defensive side of my game so I hope I can bring that to the team and help the younger guys by passing on my experience.”

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

City have been on the lookout for midfield reinforcements this off-season, with Aiden O’Neill joining Belgian side Standard Liege and Richard van der Venne and Valon Berisha joining a long list of departures which also includes Jordan Bos, Scott Jamieson, Tom Glover and Thomas Lam.

However, Ugarkovic’s arrival particularly addresses the gap left by the outgoing O’Neill at the base of midfield.

“Steven is a player we have admired for a while. He has a great work ethic, good passing range and an aggressive mindset. He’s perfectly suited to the defensive midfield role in the City style of play,” Director of Football, Michael Petrillo said.

“It’s important with the number of changes to our squad that we bring in players with experience and the right attitude to see us through a transitional period, and he has both of these qualities in abundance.”

Ugarkovic is the fifth player to join Melbourne after midfield counterpart Tolgay Arslan and young trio Patrick Beach, Alessandro Lopane and Zane Schreiber.