Yan Sasse headlines eight departures as Wellington’s rebuild begins

Wellington Phoenix are already turning their attention to the 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League season after farewelling eight players.

It is a new era for the Phoenix, who lost to Adelaide United in last week’s Elimination Final, with Giancarlo Italiano replacing Ufuk Talay – the most successful coach in the club’s history.

And life under Italiano will begin without Brazilian attacker Yan Sasse, who headlines the departures.

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In addition to the already announced exits of star goalkeeper Oli Sail, Clayton Lewis (Macarthur FC) and Steven Ugarkovic, centre-backs Josh Laws and Nikko Boxall, and full-backs Callan Elliot and Lucas Mauragis are also leaving Wellington.

Nicholas Pennington is coming off contract, but the Phoenix are in discussions with the midfielder.

The Phoenix have contracted 12 players for the 2023-24 season and are planning to announce their first off-season signing in the coming days. 

“We said our goodbyes as a team yesterday, a month earlier than we’d hoped,” director of football Shaun Gill said.

“We would have loved to have sent all of our players off with an A-League title, but it wasn’t to be.

“Despite not claiming any silverware, they have all left a mark on the Phoenix in one way or another and are leaving the club in a better place than when they arrived.

“The players we’re farewelling have been model professionals throughout their time at the Phoenix and I wish them all the best for their footballing futures.”

Yan Sasse arrived at the start of the campaign and the Brazilian scored two goals to go with three assists in his 23 A-League Men matches.

Laws, who joined the Phoenix in 2020-21, made 50 appearances for the club as Elliot departs with 47 league outings across his four seasons.

Mauragis will return to Newcastle Jets on the back of his 20 appearances on loan with the ‘Nix, while Boxall ran out three times for Wellington.

Phoenix Departures:

  • Oli Sail
  • Clayton Lewis
  • Steven Ugarkovic
  • Josh Laws
  • Nikko Boxall
  • Callan Elliott
  • Lucas Mauragis
  • Yan Sasse