Talay – He fits what we want to achieve

Ufuk Talay chats to the press about his new signing

Having made his first outfield signing, Ufuk Talay is excited by the thought of what Anas Ouahim will add to his squad.

The 26-year-old was signed from the Eredivisie in the Netherlands, having spent the back-end of last season on loan in Moldova, and has plenty of attributes which fit the Ufuk Talay brand of football.

And Talay explained to the press that having a clear identity allows them to pick the players you want.

“We’re a big believer in playing the game a certain way and when you have this belief, it makes it easier to get the players that you want.

Ouahim in Germany

“He [Anas] has a fantastic work rate without the ball as a creative midfielder, but also has the attributes to actually create those moments and also score goals,” Talay said.

“When Alex [Baumjohann – Head of Player Management] brought him across the table and we had a good look at him we got quite excited that he would definitely fit into what we want to do and achieve.”

After the signing of Anas Ouahim who arrives relatively unknown to Australia, Ufuk Talay revealed the process of finding these players which involves many steps and future planning.

“Planning for this season started last season as you can’t leave things too late as I think finding the right players is very important.

Ouahim and Baumjohann at Allianz Stadium

“We only have five visa spots within our team so we have to make sure that we find the right player to fit us,” he added.

“Alex does a lot of work behind the scene talking to agents, talking to players and bringing it to a certain point that we get to have a look at a player.

“We have Han Berger [Technical Director] and Kelly Cross [Technical Director – Youth] involved in the process and we come to a consensus to make a decision that we believe will fit into what we do as a team.

‘We are in the process of looking for a nine, possibly a six and we will make a decision on the last one being either a winger or a central defender.

“There are an abundance of players around the world, we just have to make sure we get the right one to help us,” he said.

Talay’s first assignment of 2024/25 will be away against Oakleigh Cannons in the Australia Cup Round of 32 and hinted that we could see Anas Ouahim make his debut against the Victorian NPL outfit, much like Joe Lolley did two years prior.

“We’ll give him [Anas] every possible chance to play in the Cup but he has to go through some testing on the physical side on the park first and we’ll see where he’s at and when to integrate him.

Ouahim at Allianz Stadium

“He is at the age that we are currently missing in the squad. We have players closer to 30 and just beyond and we’ve got some very young players and I think we were lacking that middle range of age.

“He’s got a lot of experience playing overseas in Europe and hopefully he brings that experience and I believe he is at that stage of his career at 26/27 where he can hopefully implode and really hit their straps.”

Finally, Talay is wary of the threat that Oakleigh Cannons can pose being competition regulars and currently in season in the Victorian NPL.

“Oakleigh have always been there or thereabouts in the Cup and they’re always in and around the top 5 in the Victorian Premier League, so it is going to be a great challenge for us and we are looking forward to it.

Lolley on the ball in the 2022 clash with Oakleigh Cannons

“As coaches we always want our players in early so we get the opportunity to work with them.

“We have the Cup coming up but the Champions League Two is in September so we are going to play two of those games before we actually start the regular season,” Talay said.

“We are prepping for the Cup at the moment and then the Champions League so plenty is happening at the moment and hopefully we can have a good run in the Cup and progress in that to give new players like Anas more time.”