Sydney FC’s measured and patient approach to returning to the A-League summit has stepped up a gear with the signing of former Manchester City winger Robert Mak.
Capped 73 times for Slovakia, Mak has joined the Sky Blues on a two-year deal after winning back-to-back Hungarian top-flight titles with Ferencváros.
“We took our time because there’s a specific type of player we want,” Sydney FC coach Steve Corica said.
“We’ve got a few more to come in as well, but to have the first one done is great.
“We’re two months out from the start of the (A-League) season which gives us plenty of time to work with Robert and to get him ready.”
The most successful club in A-League history with five championships, the Sky Blues finished a disappointing eighth last season.
“We had to have a good look at where we were and what kind of players and what formation we wanted to look at if we wanted to change things,” Corica said.
“It’s probably the best time right now to do it.”
Mak’s ability to play on either wing and also in a central attacking role if required made him an attractive target for Sydney.
“He has two great feet and can play on either side of the pitch. He likes to take on defenders and will create and score goals for us as well,” Corica said.
“To play that many times for your country is no mean feat and I think he will really stand out this season.”
Having joined Manchester City’s academy at 13, Mak stayed there for six years before leaving in 2010 to join German club Nurnberg.
From there he went to Greek club Paok in 2014 and also had spells in Russia (Zenit St Petersburg) and Turkey (Konyaspor) before his move to Hungary.
“I’ve been part of a few championships and cup wins in my career, so I know what it takes and want to bring my experience, personality and a few goals and assists to help us this season,” said Mak, who has made more than 30 games appearances in the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League.
“This is going to be a fantastic challenge for me, and it’s a real honour to be signing for Australia’s biggest and most successful club.”
The Sky Blues continue their Australia Cup campaign on Wednesday night with a round-of-16 clash against NPL Victoria outfit Bentleigh Greens in Melbourne.
In Wednesday night’s other Cup round-of-16 battle, South Australian state league club Modbury Jets host Macarthur FC at Gepps Cross.