German giants Bayern Munich swoop to sign Aussie teen… from the Mariners

Goalkeeper Anthony Pavlesic has been signed by Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich after impressing on trial. Tom Smithies reports.

German giants Bayern Munich have swooped to sign young Mariners goalkeeper Anthony Pavlesic, adding to the production line of young Australian talent being sought out by European clubs.

Pavlesic has earned a contract with the German champions after trialling there in February, and can switch clubs immediately as he holds an EU passport.

The brother of Sydney FC youth goalkeeper Adam Pavlesic, Anthony joined the Mariners from Western Sydney at the start of this season and has been working closely with goalkeeping coach Miguel Miranda, who previously helped to develop top European keepers like Ederson and Jan Oblak.

“Anthony completed a two-week trial with us in February and left a lasting impression. We then continued to follow him very closely and decided that the overall package was the right one,” said Bayern’s goalkeeper co-ordinator Tom Starke.

The deal, understood to involve a six-figure sum and a significant sell-on clause, comes just months after Newcastle United signed Mariners forward Garang Kuol, and amid sustained interest in Adelaide teen sensation Nestory Irankunda from Bayern and other clubs.

Though the German side are regarded as favourites to secure Irankunda, who earned a train-on role with the Socceroos in March thanks to his blistering form for Adelaide, it’s believed scouts from several other European clubs have monitored that form in person.

Melbourne City leftback Jordan Bos has departed the A-League after signing for KVC Westerlo in Belgium’s Pro-League in what is believed to be a record transfer overseas from an Australian club, as A-League teams field interest in a number of players.

Pavlesic is seen as mature beyond his years and was named captain of the Australian U17 side last year by head coach Brad Maloney. Pavlesic is currently playing with that Joeys team at the AFC U17 Asian Cup in Thailand.

“This is deserved acknowledgement for Anthony, who reminds me a lot of (Socceroos captain) Mat Ryan in the way he goes about his business,” said Maloney at the time.

“He leads by example both on and off the ground, and during our pre-tournament camp in Melbourne set the standard for others to follow in terms of attitude and aptitude.”

Pavlesic’s exit follows other Mariners players being snapped up by European clubs, including Kye Rowles joinng Hearts and Mark Birighitti joining Dundee.

“Anthony has massive potential and a huge work ethic for a goalkeeper who is so young,” said Mariners boss Nick Montgomery. “We would never hold him or any player back from an opportunity to sign with one of the biggest clubs in world football.

“Bayern are a global outfit of the highest calibre and like Garang joining Newcastle United this is another example of who we are as a club, providing a platform for young Australian players to go and develop at top clubs and leagues around the world.

“This can only be a positive for both the future of Australian football and for the Mariners brand of being the best development club in the country.”