SoccerAnchor's Kieran Francis looks at talented youngster Golgol Mebrahtu's move to Melbourne Heart after Gold Coast folded at the end of last season…
FROM: GOLD COAST UNITED TO: MELBOURNE HEART
Despite the Gold Coast's struggles last season, there was many talented youngsters plying their trade for the senior and youth sides. When it was announced that the Gold Coast was folding, A-League clubs scrambled to secure the best youth prospects that were available on free transfers. The list included Mitch Cooper, Ben Harold, Jake Barker-Daish, Ben Halloran, Daniel Bowles, Zac Anderson and Golgol Mebrahtu.
The Eritrean-born Mebrahtu emigrated to Australia in the mid-90's and began a youth career in Queensland with Brisbane Northern Districts and Brisbane Olympic.
Mebrahtu came to the attention of Gold Coast manager Miron Bleiberg as the Israeli-born coach was waiting for a helicopter flight from Brisbane to the Gold Coast. Bleiberg noticed Mebrahyu training by himself and recognised him from a previous scouting mission.
The 21 year old striker/winger made his debut for Gold Coast in the 2009/2010 season, when came on as a substitute in the 69th minute in GC's 2-2 draw away at Perth Glory.
Mebrahtu made 26 appearances (14 starts) over three seasons for Gold Coast but never found the back of the net despite featuring in over 1,100 minutes of football. The closest he came was when presented with a chance a yard out against Melbourne Victory last season, he scuffed the shot straight at Covic when it was definitely easier to score.
With his pace and good ball control, Mebrahtu will be used as an attacking winger for Melbourne Heart this season. He will compete with Mate Dugandzic, David Williams and Aziz Behich for a position high on the flanks.
The reaction from Melbourne Heart supporters to the signing was mixed.
Some lamented his profligacy in front of goal as a serious issue while others remarked about his talent and potential, mentioning that he scored significant amounts of goals in the National Youth League.
Heart fans may have to be patient with the skilful winger as he is definitely a work in progress.
With the right nurturing and development, Mebrahtu has the potential to be a quality A-League player. He has all the attributes required to be a tricky winger who can help service new target man Josip Tardic.
The other competitors for the wing positions; Dugandzic, Williams and Behich, will all start the season ahead of Mebrahtu but there is definitely potential for the African-born player to have an impact the starting eleven, particularly at the expense of the struggling Williams.
It will be interesting to see whether Heart can get the best out of Mebrahtu and with their record of developing young players, they should have a very good chance.