Melbourne City captain Scott Jamieson says loyal La Liga veteran Markel Susaeta will add plenty of “x-factor” towards the end of the season.
Susaeta played 507 times for Athletic Bilbao, with the 32-year-old signing with City for the remainder of the A-League season from Japanese giants Gamba Osaka.
City hopes Susaeta will link up with Socceroo Jamie Maclaren and be a valuable source of goals, as City attempts to close the gap to league leaders Sydney FC.
“As a nation we are very lucky to have someone of his calibre and more so as a football club to have someone of Markel’s calibre,” Jamieson said.
“It is a testament to him as a person that he stayed at one club for so long and that he did not want to play back to Spain to go play against Bilbao, so that’s the first kind of thing in regard to him.
“As a player you’re looking at one of the toughest, best leagues in the world in the top three, so to play 500 games or so his ability can’t be questioned.
“I think it’s about getting him adapted to league here, the culture and that’s up to the players and the club to make him feel welcome.
“I think in regards to our squad this year we have Jamie [Maclaren] who’s won us games on his own kind of thing but hopefully Markel is that kind of x-factor.”
City hosts Newcastle this week in the third game without their four Olyroos, who are set to meet Syria in the AFC U23 Quarter Final on Saturday.
Jamieson believes Australia seeing the benefits of the club’s youth system, with four of their players representing the Olyroos.
Tom Glover, Connor Metcalfe and Ramy Najjarine – the latter of whom scored in Australia’s match with Bahrain – have been regular contributors to the national team in the AFC U23 Olympic qualifiers – with Denis Genreau featuring off the bench in the win over Thailand.
“I think in terms of the way our football club is going with trying to help Graham Arnold and the national team I think can be a part of the way our football club goes about things, I don’t mind giving our club a pat on the back,” he said.
“We keep in regular contact with our lads. Ramy scoring is a real positive … Denis has gone there with a shoulder injury … Tom’s been brilliant and obviously Connor.
“This is what we want, if they’re going to be taken away from our team, we want them playing games rather than just sitting there just watching the other players play.
“I think it’s important for our football club and our league that we qualify for the Olympics, and as a club we’re supporting those four individuals and the team.”