Wanderers bolster midfield stocks with arrival of ex-Victory captain Brillante

Western Sydney Wanderers have signed former Melbourne Victory captain Josh Brillante on a two-year deal.

Brillante arrives in Wanderland having made over 300 A-Leagues appearances for the likes of Gold Coast United, Newcastle Jets, Sydney FC, Melbourne City and most recently – Victory – where he played 53 times in all competitions.

The 30-year-old midfielder has also won a plethora of team and individual awards throughout his career including the Isuzu UTE A-League Premiers Plate and Championship twice, the Australia Cup on two occasions – along with being named in the PFA’s Team of the Year on three occasions.

He also spent time at Serie A sides Fiorentina and Empoli, along with stints in Serie B at Como and in Greece with Xanthi.

Brillante was contracted for another season at Victory, but mutually terminated his contract with the club prior to signing with the Wanderers.

“I’ve seen over the years that the Wanderers are a very passionate club with a great member and fan base,” Brillante said.

“It’s a big club with a winning mentality that excites me.

“There have been so many memories playing against the Wanderers. Always a tough team to play against with the buzz in the atmosphere from the members and fans.

“I want to be back enjoying my football and winning games which ultimately leads to winning titles. I want to add to the club that is already so positive on and off the pitch.”

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Brillante helps bolster a midfield group which lost the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin (end of loan) and Romain Amalfitano (released) in the off-season.

“Josh has fantastic leadership qualities and plenty of knowledge and experience of the domestic competition,” said Wanderers coach Marko Rudan.

“We welcome him and his family to Western Sydney and look forward to him enjoying his football in a positive environment.”

Meanwhile, Melbourne Victory Director of Football John Didulica thanked Brillante for his contributions to the club, where he played an important role in their Australia Cup success in 2022.

“Josh has been an esteemed member of the squad over his past two seasons at Victory, leading the side with the armband, and we thank him for his contribution to the club,” Didulica said.

“Josh played an important role in assuming the captaincy during challenging circumstances at the start of the 2021/22 season, being a driving force behind the club winning the Australia Cup in 2021.

“We thank Josh for his significant contribution to Melbourne Victory and wish him and his family well in their next step.”

Brillante is the Wanderers’ sixth new signing this off-season so far, joining Jack Clisby, Dylan Pierias, Lachlan Brook, Marcus Antonsson and Anthony Pantazopoulos as the club’s latest arrivals – while George Antonis and Marcus Younis were promoted to the senior side.