Adelaide United have sold star goalkeeper Joe Gauci to Aston Villa in the Premier League for an undisclosed fee.
Gauci, who is away on international duty with the Socceroos at the AFC Asian Cup, has reportedly signed a contract with Unai Emery’s Villa until 2028 and will link up with his new team following the tournament in Qatar.
The 23-year-old, who penned a contract extension with the Isuzu UTE A-League outfit 10 months ago, becomes the latest player off Adelaide’s famed production line to earn a move abroad.
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He follows in footsteps of 17-year-old sensation Nestory Irankunda, who will join Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich at the end of the season. Alexandar Popovic (Gwangju FC), Steven Hall (Brighton and Hove Albion), Awer Mabil (Midtjylland), Mohamed Toure (Reims) and Yaya Dukuly (Reins), Riley McGree (Club Brugge) and Mathew Leckie (Borussia Monchengladbach) are among the players to have come through the Reds and transferred overseas.
“Thank you Reds fans, the support you’ve shown me over the last three and a half seasons has been nothing short of incredible,” Gauci said.
“From my debut to my first home game and clean sheet, to playing finals Football at Coopers Stadium and classic away wins, the love you’ve given me over this period has made these memories even more memorable and they are something I’m going to carry with me for the rest of my life.
“I would also like to thank all the staff members and players, past and present, that have supported me through this journey. The environment the Club has created has really allowed me to flourish and be my true self, on and off the field, that has allowed me to reach the level that I have.
“I would like to wish everyone at the club all the best for the rest of the season and I look forward to supporting the club from afar. I really hope in the future our paths will cross again.”
Born in Adelaide, Gauci was on the books of Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne City in the A-Leagues before returning home to South Australia in 2020.
The two-time Australia international made his debut for the Reds that year and he has gone on to amass 76 appearances across all competitions.
He will look to follow in the footsteps of Australian legend Mark Bosnich, who flourished for Aston Villa in the 90s.
Bosnich played 228 competitive matches for Villa, winning the EFL Cup in 1993-94 and 1995-96 before earning a blockbuster move to Manchester United in 1999.
Villa are eyeing UEFA Champions League qualification this season as they sit fifth in the Premier League standings, adrift of Ange Postecoglou’s Tottenham on goal difference.
“We’ve witnessed Joe’s growth and development firsthand during his time with us,” said Adelaide’s goalkeeper coach Eugene Galekovic.
“His commitment to improving as a goalkeeper has been evident in every training session and match. Joe’s positive attitude, work ethic, and exceptional talent have made him an asset to our team.
“While we are sad to see him go, we understand that this transfer presents a fantastic opportunity for Joe to further elevate his career, joining one of the worlds truly great competitions.
“We wish Joe all the success in the world, and should he return to Australia, he will always be welcome back at Adelaide.”