Melbourne City signing the most promising debutant seen during the COVID-19 A-League restart only to incur the wrath of Adelaide United officials, stunned teenage sensation Taras Gomulka.
And as Adelaide comes to terms with the loss of Gomulka, Reds goalkeeper Paul Izzo is all but primed to be announced as the next player to leave the club for a European move.
Riley McGree is also rumoured to be being pursued by the same European outfit after one deal fell over when the club, which is believed to be Dutch, rejected the estimated $1.7 million fee and future sign on fees.
Another Reds teenager, Lachlan Brook, 19, has attracted interest from a UK-based club according to sources.
However, despite Adelaide’s plans to grow its clubs’ network across the planet like the City Football Group after an unnamed consortium initially started Chinese third tier outfit Qingdao Red Lions from scratch in 2016, football director Bruce Djite publicly declared Gomulka’s move Melbourne City was disappointing.
Gomulka, 19, told The Inner Sanctum his decision to sign a three-year senior deal was driven by City’s global reach where players can realistically climb the professional ladder via its clubs which are strategically located around its flagship English Premier League club Manchester City.
The City Football Group also owns stakes in clubs in the US, Australia (Melbourne City), India, Japan, Spain, Uruguay, China, Belgium and France.
“I was in talks with United and kept waiting and kept waiting, eventually they sent an offer through, we weren’t happy with it,’’ Gomulka said before flying from Adelaide to Melbourne where the club is expected to start preseason training next week.
“A few days later Melbourne City came in contact with us and they sent their offer through.
“We got back to United saying ‘are you able to match it’ and they weren’t able to match it.
“They upgraded their offer but it still didn’t match Melbourne City’s offer.
“For me personally, Melbourne City is one of the best clubs to be at as a young player.
“Opportunities in Europe, everywhere, and if you can play at Melbourne City at a young age it’s the best place to be.”
Gomulka will join fellow young South Australians including goalkeeper Joe Gauci, Bernardo Oliveira, Kerrin Stokes, Yaya Dukuly and Rapha Borges Rodrigues at City.
He was on a scholarship Reds contract before claiming he came into the Sydney-based COVID-19 A-League hub at the last minute after defensive midfielder Louis D’Arrigo was injured during an NPL clash for Adelaide United.
After initially being scouted by United following impressive MIC Cup performances for a young Reds team in Spain, Gomulka reserved special praise for Adelaide’s NPL/youth team boss Paul Pezos.
“Paul Pezos has had a huge impact on me as a player, not only as a footballer but personally for myself,’’ he said.
“He’s a hard coach, he gets stuck in, but he just wants the best for you.”
Gomulka was sensational from the very first seconds of his A-League debut.
He never looked back after contributing immensely in his first match, a 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar in July before taking ownership of attacking set pieces.
He played five games for Adelaide in an undefeated streak.
Despite a superb ending to its broken season, Adelaide missed out on finals football for the first time since 2017, a little more than a year after former coach Marco Kurz’s side was just a penalty kick away from reaching the 2019 grand final.
And with City losing defensive midfielder Josh Brilliante, who is destined to be announced as one of Australian coach Tony Popovic’s new signings for Greek club Xanthi, Gomulka knows he now has a glorious opportunity to impress Melbourne City’s new coach Patrick Kisnorbo for the defensive midfield spot.
The club is, according to sources, also contemplating releasing some of its younger players on loan to clubs in Belgium and France in order to gain valuable game time especially if the national youth league is put on the back burner for the new season.
“I’m not sure about that to be honest but nothing has been said,’’ Gomulka said about young City players potentially being loaned out to sister clubs.
“That is just rumours but I think it’s more for game time with such a long preseason.”
And with a Polish-born father who played football in his homeland until his arrival in Australia about 30 years ago and mum with Ukrainian heritage, Gomulka says his heart is very much with the Australian national teams.
“I can play for Australia and Poland,’’ he said.
“When I was four years old dad took me down to the local club at Modbury Vista (my first club).
“He played when he was in Poland, he was an attacker.”