Victory farewell seven players and free up import spots

Victory farewell seven players and free up import spots

Date: 12 May 2017 05:58

Nick Ansell, Alan Baro and Rashid Mahazi are amongst the players let go by coach Kevin Muscat as he looks to improve on this season's grand final loss

Melbourne Victory will have three import spots available heading into the 2017-18 A-League season after announcing the departure of seven players on Friday.

While Fahid Ben Khalfallah's impending exit had been widely reported, Victory also revealed they would not be offering Spanish centre-back Alan Baro a contract extension.

With German winger Max Beister having come and gone throughout the recently completed campaign, the Big V have just two imports contracted for next season - striker Besart Berisha and winger Marco Rojas.

Joining Ben Khalfallah and Baro in heading for the exit door are goalkeepers Alastair Bray and Lucas Spinella, defender Nick Ansell, midfielder Rashid Mahazi and striker George Howard.

It was announced in March that Daniel Georgievski, who won the Joe Marston Medal in the 2017 A-League Grand Final as Sydney FC were crowned champions, will join Newcastle Jets next season.

Georgievski laments grand final loss

Many expect Ben Khalfallah to join Georgievski in Newcastle but no deal has been confirmed, while Baro told Goal in the lead-up to the A-League finals that he would have many options in Spain if released.

The 31-year-old defender appears unfortunate not to earn a new deal, as he played and started 26 matches this season and looked to have really found his stride in the latter part of the campaign.

The expected arrival of Socceroos defender Rhys Williams at Victory may have hurt Baro's chances.

Baro focused on silverware not contracts

Ansell, 23, leaves Victory after five seasons and 71 A-League games, while it has been reported that 25-year-old Mahazi may give up football altogether after four years wearing the Big V.

Howard scored one A-League goal in 13 appearances for Victory since his senior debut in March 2015 but the 20-year-old struggled for game time behind Berisha.

Bray, 24, was unfortunate that his season was ruined by a shoulder injury sustained in November, and his exit opens the door for Matthew Acton to sign a permanent deal for next term after covering for the former in 2016-17.

Vukovic the hero as Sydney win A-League grand final

Spinella, 20, never made a senior appearance for Victory after signing a full-time contract almost two years ago.

Of the eight to have left Victory, Baro, Ben Khalfallah and Georgievski started last week's grand final loss to Sydney, while Mahazi and Ansell were unused substitutes.

Ben Khalfallah, Georgievski, Ansell and Mahazi all won the A-League premiership-championship double with Victory in 2014-15.

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