Former Jets goalkeeper Birighitti returns to A-League with City

Pictured during his time at the Newcastle Jets. Picture: Simone De Peak
Pictured during his time at the Newcastle Jets. Picture: Simone De Peak

Melbourne City have moved to replace the recently departed Dean Bouzanis with fringe Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Birighitti.

The ex-Newcastle Jets gloveman made the PFA's team of the season in his last full season in the A-League and bolsters City's hopes of success this season.

"I'm pleased to be returning to Australia and to join a club with genuine title aspirations and a group with talent like Melbourne City is very exciting," Birighitti said in a statement.

The 27-year-old has signed a three-year deal, returning to Australia after two years abroad.

Birighitti signed with Premier League outfit Swansea City but failed to crack the first team, departing after a season for Dutch club NAC Breda - which has a partnership agreement with Melbourne City's parent club Manchester City.

The Western Australian made 15 appearances in Breda last term before deciding to move back to Australia.

2015: Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti.  Picture: Simone De Peak

2015: Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti. Picture: Simone De Peak

"Mark is one of Australia's brightest goalkeeping talents and we think he's got a lot to give in this stage of his career" City coach Warren Joyce said.

"He communicates well on the field, is a solid shot stopper and good with his feet.

"He's also shown he's adaptable to different playing styles throughout his career in Australia and Europe."

Birighitti will replace Eugene Galekovic as the club's first-choice custodian and could make his debut in the FFA Cup match against Western Sydney next Wednesday at AAMI Park.

Joyce is not expected to add heavily to his squad until season's start, saying last month he couldn't "see more than two players" coming in.

Since then, the club lost Bouzanis to Dutch top-flight club PEC Zwolle but added creative Frenchman Florin Berenguer.

Joyce has also added young talents Riley McGree and Lachlan Wales, journeyman Rostyn Griffith, Scottish attacker Michael O'Halloran and returning attacker Anthony Caceres to his squad for the 2018/19 season.

Mark Birighitti has played 84 A-League during spells with Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets.

Mark Birighitti has played 84 A-League during spells with Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets.

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Australian Associated Press

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